Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Patrick Wolf - Sundark and Riverlight

Patrick Wolf has already been with us for 10 years & that's quite a hard thing to get your head around. I got into him fairly late in 2004 when I first heard Lycanthropy pouring out of my friends stereo and immediately fell in love with his electronic folklore. Over the years Patrick Wolf has gone under a bit of a diva transformation, gained and lost fans on every passing release & is constantly evolving his sound. The heart is still there but where it was in an incredibly bleak place before it's now dancing on the beaches of San Fran with a huge smile on it's face & good on him. This song concentrates on stripping down some old favourites to their bare acoustic roots & whilst it is for the most part a collection that provides some memorable renditions it has to be said that given most these songs were made with a showy composure in mind some of these songs simply don't work. The are moments in songs like 'Paris', 'Bluebells' & 'The Magic Posistion' in particular where he goes into chanting and without the grand composure behind the lyrics the songs begin sounding a little bit on the comical side. Some songs translate surprisingly well such as 'Hard Times' & a lot of the material from 'The Bachelor' in particular come out far better then I thought it would with it's more sombre approach foregoing to schizophrenic production on that album. Patrick's vocals are also the strongest I have ever heard them, he's certainly not the shy 17 year old any-more  he sings his songs loud & proud and that really helps carry this album. As an artist that relies so heavily on electronic beats on his songs this is a surprisingly good experiment & works as your very own acoustic session of Patrick Wolfs greatest hits & whilst they rarely improve on the originals it's a very good way to cap off your 10 year anniversary  Even the most jaded Patrick Wolf fans should give it a shot even if it's to hear some reworkings of your favourites from yesteryear. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Song Of The Day #11: Sparklehorse - Morning Hollow

It's Sunday so I think I may start sticking to a religious regiment of songs to feel 'sorry for yourself to' as that's quite frankly what most of us do on a Sunday. A shining example of this is the very  sombre 'Morning Hollow' the very apt title is about feeling Hollow in the Morning and feel this to be a fantastic song to listen to when you're nursing a hangover. It's 7 minutes long but it'll pass you by like a freight train as you close your eyes and pad your thoughts out with the emotion felt in this song. 

Hear the rest of the 'Song Of The Day' playlist here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

'Morning Hollow' is from the bands 2006 release 'Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain'

Friday, 12 October 2012

Song Of The Day #10: Ugly Casanova - Hotcha Girls

Side project of Modest Mouse front man Ugly Casanova really ushered the more wholesome and folky sound the band would adopt with 2004's 'Good News For People Who Love Bad News'. This song is a particular stand out from this body of work with 2 vocals interlayering over each other over an incredibly delicate and pretty acoustic backing track. The album 'Sharpen Your Teeth' is pretty damned good but I just wished it hit these highs more often.

Hear the rest of the 'Song Of The Day' playlist here: Ugly Casanova – Hotcha Girls

Hotcha Girls can be heard on the bands 2002 releases 'Sharpen Your Teeth' 

Love and Regret - Cold Showers

Cold Showers is the debut album LA band 'Love & Regret' who formed around about 2 years ago & they combine pop music with traditional angular guitar riffs and shoegaze to create a sound that's heavy in atmosphere and heavy in hooks. On first listen it may seem that 'Cold Showers' and it's 8 songs sound a bit nondescript & for the most part this is kind of true, I could imagine any number of shoegaze influenced bands putting out this record & this would be a problem if some of the songs weren't so damn catchy. This album does one thing particularly well and that's throwing you some incredibly catchy and simple guitar riffs that feel immediate and garners your interest pretty quickly 'In Terms Of Pleasure' is a favourite of mine with it's bass line and indie pop guitar tone  and female/male vocal harmonies making up a very simple yet very strong chorus, & 'Seminary' is a pretty strong closer offering an increase in tempo and overall presence which works really well for this band. The one thing that can be laid against this album that whilst for the most part songs are very enjoyable the is nothing really to them that allows them to truly stand out from the crowd, whilst all the songs have their quirks which make them unique within the context of the album, they really do not stand out in an oversubscribed genre. I guess the best way to sum up this album would be 'good but unspectacular' & I don't mean that in a horrible way either. The just isn't enough in this album to make me get overly excited about it,  is a fairly accomplished debut with some very strongly crafted pop influenced shoegaze treats.  

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Song Of The Day #9: Thievery Corporation - The Forgotten Peopl

With the feeling of 'Lawrence of Arabia' to it, this song is incredibly hypnotic and groovy and catches the ear with some very clever sampling, sinister bass line and lively percussion which jumps out at you in a way you just don't hear in a lot of electronic music. This beat just has so much going for it that I find myself listening to it again & again & again, a great marriage of sampled melodies and live percussion.  

Get the rest of the 'Song Of The Day' playlist here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

'The Forgotten People' can be found on Thievery Corporations 2008 release 'Radio Retaliation' 

Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man (6.7/10)

I have been quite a huge fan of Bat For Lashes for quite some time now, the first time I heard 'What's A Girl To Do' I knew I found the quirky female musician for me. Fast forward to 2012 and we see Natasha grace us once again with her third album 'The Haunted Man' and where the kookiness has left Bat For Lashes ambition has never been greater... unfortunately this leaves a distinctive lack of charm and identity. Bat For Lashes has never released a killer album, I found Two Suns to be a bit top heavy, but for me it's always been about those great moments Bat For Lashes produces on quite a consistent basis. This year it's all about the likes of 'Laura' which is an incredible conventional ballad with some real power behind it with an incredibly strong vocal performance, 'The Haunted Man' is quite an epic  , 'Rest Your Head' has a really nice dream scope underlying the driven momentum & 'Winter Fields' hits you in the face with an incredibly haunting yet driven sound. However this album falters, where the low points of previous efforts where mealy disappointing, the lulls in this album often feel soulless and lifeless & this can mostly be blamed on incredibly limp production.  The synths and drums on this album sound particularly pathetic as you hear snare hits quietly whimper in the background & with synths that leave no impression at all, I honestly couldn't pin point a single tone or sound a synth produced on this entire album despite their heavy presence.  'Oh Yeah', 'Horses Of The Sun' & 'Deep Sea Diver' are three clear examples of an idea not quite coming together  they all sound like songs with killer ideas in them but they never feel like cohesive and engaging songs threw and threw. This album is a collection of some incredibly ambitious ideas & to her credit she does have more then her fair share of moments where the album all comes together to produce something fantastic but unfortunately about half the duration of the album left me incredibly frustrated, underwhelmed and bored. I think these songs will for the most part translate really well live but I cannot stress how truly awful the production is at times & this hindrance really shows up some of the flaws of the song writing.

+ 'Laura', 'Marilyn' & a few others are really strong songs; some of her best to date
+ Shows a lot of ambition
+ Should translate well live with a lot of big moments which will sound much better without lifeless drums

- A lot of songs don't quite come together as well as I would have liked
- The production is awful, the drums & synths have no presence and it's often way too bassy
- This album lacks true identity, relies a bit heavily on sounding 80's & conventional

Song Of The Day #8: Xiu Xiu - Fabulous Muscles

'Fabulous Muscles' from the album of the same name is an incredibly soft, warped & heartfelt offering from Xiu Xiu and probably is the most intimate song ever released under the guise. Forgoing the usual distorted noise that Xiu Xiu usually lace their songs with this song is simply nothing more then Jamie singing over a very minimal acoustic guitar, it's very warm and incredibly beautiful. 

Get the rest of the 'Song Of The Day' playlist here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

'Fabulous Muscles' can be found on the bands 2004 release 'Fabulous Muscles' 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Song Of The Day #7: The Chariot - First

'First' by the Chariot starts off a solid enough hardcore track but what makes this song so very special is the way it evolves into an incredible half which would best be described as spaghetti western. This is a fantastic song which takes an unexpected turn which makes this track really catch the ear. Superb at everything it does, but especially the spaghetti western theme.

Get the rest of the 'Song Of The Day' playlist here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

'First' can be found on the bands 2012 release 'One Wing'

Monday, 8 October 2012

Song Of The Day #6: Sea Of Bees - Skinnybone

I discovered this song & this band whilst I was looking up some of the bands playing the fantastic 'Park' stage at Glastonbury in the year 2011. I looked up this band & this song and instantly fell in love, this is just a fantastically dreamy pop song, with female vocals softly singing over a whole lot of fuzz. It's a truly brilliant little song which progresses in a very pleasant way, I will never tire of this song. 

Get the rest of the 'Song Of The Day' playlist here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

Skinnybone can be found on Sea Of Bee's 2010 release 'Songs For The Ravens' 

Song Of The Day #5: The Isley Brothers - This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)

This song really needs no explanation as to why it's here does it? It's just motown perfection with the upbeat and uplifting chorus and it's heart felt & soulful delivery of the verses is what motown is all about isn't it? And this song embodies it better then any other, just music in it's purest and most perfect form. 

Get the rest of the 'Song Of The Day' playlist here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

This Old Heart Of Mine can be found on the bands 1966 single release of 'This Old Heart Of Mine'

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Songs Of The Day #4: Nicolas Jarr - Space Is Only Noise If You Can See

Definitely one of my go to songs of the last summer 'Space Is Only Noise If You Can See' is a remarkably groovy and organic electronic sound with a bassline that encourages compulsive nodding. Full of space, atmosphere and with the air of the hypnotic this track makes for great mood music but also great personal listens. Lazy & memorable.

Get the rest of the 'Song Of The Day' playlist here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

This Track is found on Nicolas Jarr's 2011 release 'Space Is Only Noise'

Friday, 5 October 2012

Song Of The Day #3: Lemonheads - Rudderless

It's A Shame About Ray is one of the only albums I listened to in my early years that I still listen too frequently to this day, I know this thing very well & it has been a good companion to me over the years. A particularly strong song 'Rudderless' has a great mix of acoustic and electric guitar which blend together so very well when the songs main riff is played. The song builds and progresses threw out it's 3 minute 19 duration and ends with a great chant along. Fantastic song.

Get the rest of the song of the day playlist here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

This track is found on the bands 1992 release 'It's A Shame About Ray'

Song Of The Day #2: Yo La Tengo - Sugarcube

Continuing from the previous song on the playlist we have Yo La Tengo's Sugarcube which featured on their 1997 LP 'I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One' which is incidentally my favourite Yo La Tengo album. The song is arguably the band at their most commercially viable with a music video to match, with it's understated fuzz and mellow vocal hook, this song has all the makings of a great lazy summer rock song. 

Get the rest of the song of the day playlist here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

This track is found on the bands 1997 release: I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Song Of The Day #1: Red Pen - Bottomless Pit

Bottomless Pit is a song that pretty much embodies all my favourite elements of indie rock, mainly with the guitar tone, it's a very understated song with an incredibly catchy guitar riff and vocals which you end up singing along to even on the very first listen. The are many bands that do this sort of thing but when it's done as well as it is here it'll always become a long-standing favourite of mine.

Track 1 of the running Song Of The Day Spotify playlist found here: Pitch&Key Song Of The Day

This track is found on the bands 2008 release 'Congress'.