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Tag Archives: Bloc Party

So here it is. One of the most anticipated albums of the year. Dear Science, the third album from New York art-rock experimentalists TV On The Radio. I got this album at the same time as a couple of other big albums in the form of Bloc Party‘s Intimacy, and Kings of Leon‘s Only By The Night. I’ve not got around to the KoL album yet, and I’m reserving judgement on Intimacy til the full physical release next month. Dear Science, however, is a cracker.

Since Return To Cookie Mountain came out in 2006, and was subsequently named Spin Album of the Year, (which turned out to be just one element of the album’s huge critical acclaim) the musical world has been eagerly anticipating Dear Science. We’re talking expectations of life-changing, music-industry-changing maybe even world-changing brilliance here. Well, I’ve heard it, and it’s only an album at the end of the day. It’s just like the rest I’ve heard this year, but better. Change your life it will not, and it was never going to. Get over it.

One key difference here to Return To Cookie Mountain is immediacy. RTCM took a few listens to “get”, and no doubt Dear Science will reveal it’s true wonders with time, like fine wine, without the psychoactive drug effects (probably). However Dear Science is also quick to hit you, and grab attention, with hand-claps, horns and something that sounds suspiciously like a 1983 Casio DG20 electric guitar, set to Electric Mandolin. Opener ‘Halfway Home’, single ‘Golden Age’ and tracks like ‘Dancing Choose’ grab you with electronic and guitar parts blended in a way I think Bloc Party might be trying to achieve, while ‘Red Dress’ is unashamedly funky. What TV On The Radio do on this album, to an even greater extent than they did on Return To Cookie Mountain and earlier, is blur genre boundaries, with the funky elements, the rap elements on ‘DLZ’, oft-disguised guitars throughout, and synths, drums and vocals all put together brilliantly by Dave Sitek’s production skills.

Ending with with ‘Lover’s Day’, Tunde Adebimpe also demonstates that vast variety is present in his lyrics as in the music, with openly sexy lyrics ending an album that has covered death, war, anger, heartbreak and most of the world’s other ills.

As ‘Lover’s Day’ rounds of the album with jazzy sax and horms, choral vocals and marching snares, I reflect on another triumph for TVOTR, and I can see this album being featured in even more “album of the year” debates than its predecessor.

You can, and should, buy Dear Science from here (UK) or here (US Deluxe Edition) if you don’t already have it.

MP3: TV On The Radio – Golden Age

MP3: TV On The Radio – Dancing Choose

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Bloc Party‘s new “tour” has been announced and the tickets are now on sale. Is 6 dates in 3 places a tour? Is it if you add one London date 2 months later than those 6? Are they worth the money any more? Is this why gigsandtours.com is currently not working, 10 minutes after these tickets go on sale? Answers to all this and more in next weeks NME, no doubt.

Wichita Recordings, the record label that brought the world the likes of Bloc Party, The Cribs, Simian Mobile Disco and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! have announced the release of a digital sampler which is available for free here. The sampler contains 15 tracks from the London-based label’s artists, and it’s also free, and available here.

The full tracklisting is below:

01. Tasty Boy – Those Dancing Days
02.Human Hair – Lovvers
03. Molten – Sky Larkin
04. How I Taught Myself to Scream – Los Campesinos!
05. Knifeman – The Bronx
06. Meet Me in the Dollar Bin – Les Savy Fav
07. I Dont Want To Die (In The Hospital) – Conor Oberst
08. Tell Me In Time – Peter Moren
09. Burn The Margins – Greg Weeks
10. Saving Up To Get Married – Euros Childs
11. Maiden in the Moor Lay – Meg Baird
12. Paint The Rust – The Dodos
13. Inland Empire – Peter Bjorn & John
14. I Got This Down (Invisible Conga People Mix) – Simian Mobile Disco
15. The Year In Review – Her Space Holiday

So that’s the summer sampler from Wichita, it’s free, and it’s here.

The New Sound. x

Yes indeed, it is less than a week until the Leeds and Reading Festivals kick off. The New Sound. will be attending the Leeds Festival and we cannot wait! From Friday to Sunday, hundreds of good bands will be playing the festival, including a handful of really awesome ones like Rage Against The Machine, Bloc Party and Queens of the Stone Age, to name a few.

Of course, for Leeds attendees, the music starts a day early with a handful of bands from the superb Leeds-based record label Dance To The Radio playing, including the brilliant Grammatics. Last year Dance To The Radio brought the likes of now-defunct Shut Your Eyes And You’ll Burst Into Flames, Sky Larkin and Grammatics to support ¬°Forward, Russia! and they were all superb (except The Wallbirds who were really boring).

If you’re going to Leeds (or Reading), have a great time! I know we will!

As Bloc Party release their second single since A Weekend In The City, the jury is out again, just as it was for Flux. Mercury is yet another departure in terms of musical style and indicates a possible shift away from the genre of indie-rock that debut album Silent Alarm placed them in. The unexpected single sounds to me more like a Bloc Party remix by Phones or similar, not an original Bloc track. That said, I’ve always enjoyed Bloc Party remixes. So, is Mercury and good?

Yes and no. It has some things going for it. It as a good beat, and Kele Okereke‘s vocals are crisp and enchanting as ever, even if the distorting and chopping of the vocals is perhaps unnecessary. The trumpets are a first for Bloc, but they work well with the dark sound of the track as a whole. I suppose the main problem with the track is that it isn’t Bloc Party as we used to know them. Singer Kele Okereke has often spoken of his desire to move away from guitar-rock and explore more electronica-inspired sounds. This is almost certainly a creation mostly of Okereke origin, and overall, it’s not bad. I’m still looking forward to the third album, as yet untitled and expected in early 2009.

If you haven’t already heard it, you can listen or watch the (very strange) music video on blocparty.com and you can also pre-order the single on CD, 7″ or 12″ vinyl from there too. The video sees a weird Frankenstein’s monster/bull/lobster mutant become president of the USA and start bombing places. No really.

Mercury is released on August 11th.

Bloc Party debuted their new single Mercury on Zane Lowe’s show on Radio 1 this evening. To listen to the band’s first track since Flux and hear them talk about the track, and their forthcoming third album, you can listen back on the bbc website here. It sees the foursome move further towards the electic sound that frontman Kele Okereke is looking for, and ventures away from the indie-rock of Silent Alarm.

You can preorder the Mercury Deluxe disk set from Bloc Party’s official site here.

Rory. x

I found a video of an iForward, Russia! set on Fabchannel.com and it’s well worth watching. A fantastic live band right there. Go onto Fabchannel and click “Concerts”, then “Forward Russia!” Or click Here!

Also, Fabchannel is a very good site, with lots of live sets of bands that have played at the Amsterdam Paradiso. You can also find sets by Jimmy Eat World, Bloc Party, and hundreds of other great bands that I won’t bother listing.

Here’s the iForward, Russia! set:

  1. Thirteen
  2. Don’t Reinvent What You Don’t Understand
  3. Don’t Be A Doctor
  4. Twelve
  5. Gravity & Heat
  6. Nine
  7. Spanish Triangles

Enjoy. x

Pin Me Down (Photo by Timothy Cochraine for NME)

In a MySpace bulletin today, Pin Me Down announced that their debut single, Cryptic is out on iTunes UK today. Pin Me Down is Bloc Party guitarist Russell Lissack‘s side-project with singer Milena Mepris, formerly of Black Moustache. Their 80s-influenced electro-rock made it’s live debut in London recently, and we’re hoping for more UK dates soon. Lissack’s distinctive guitar licks are his contribution to the music, and whilst very recognisably Russell, it’s not Bloc Party with a different singer. The refreshing guitar pop is worthy of any indie dancefloor. The Cryptic single will also feature a Phones remix (always an exciting prospect) and more.

The Bulletin:

“That’s right. Our first single “Cryptic” is out today in the UK only on iTunes. The single features remixes by PHONES (Paul Epworth), Jamie Ellis and Russell Lissack, Dave P & Adam Sparkles, and Dubka of the Cazals. Next week May 26, the vinyl 12″ will be available. The full single will be out on June 2 on iTunes.

Check-it, check-it out,
love ya,
PMD xo”

The New Sound. Dance Special! Oh Em Gee kids! Let’s get the glitter-ball rolling with…

Danger

Like fellow Frenchmen Justice, Danger have a very dark, frenetic sound to their music, but occasionally complement it with lovely happy-sounding vocals to give it an extra layer of interest. Their EP simply titled 09/14/2007 is the best dance record I’ve heard since the earlier mentioned Justice brought out the album that had a cross symbol for a name, that I will not take the effort to recreate here.

Keeping with the symplistic theme, the track names on 09/14/2007 are all times, like 11h30 and 14h54 for example. You can also find their remix of Estelle‘s American Boy on their myspace.

Funnily enough, 09/14/2007 was released in 2007 and can be found on iTunes.

MP3: Danger – 11h30

SebastiAn

Looks like France is where it’s at for dance music right now. SebastiAn is another french maestro and single Ross Ross Ross is impossible to ignore. Also on iTunes, the Ross Ross Ross EP also features the equally impressive track Walkman. Just to demonstrate how amazing this guy is, Daft Punk (also French dontcha know) picked him to support them on the Alive 2007 Tour, and those helmet-wearing chaps know a bit about dance music. He’s signed to Ed Banger Records (Justice, Mr Oizo, Dj Mehdi) and has also dipped his dipper into the world of remixes, remixing the likes of Daft Punk, Bloc Party, Editors, Klaxons and Rage Against The Machine. I dare say this man has some mad skillz.

MP3: SebastiAn – Ross Ross Ross

MP3: Bloc Party – I Still Remember (SebastiAn Remix)

MP3: Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name (SebastiAn Remix)

Crystal Castles

Another remix-friendly dance outfit are Toronto, Canada’s Crystal Castles, they’ve remixed Bloc Party (the most remixed band in the world?) Klaxons and GoodBooks amongst others and their own music ain’t bad either. Imagine if your iPod mated with your old Gameboy. Those 8-bit musical children would be Crystal Castles. Head over to their myspace here to see what I mean. Ten points for anyone who recognises the Death From Above 1979 sample in Untrust Us.

autoKratz

These guys are on Kitsune Records – good sign. They have toured with Does It Offend You, Yeah? – good sign. They’re another two-person setup, like Crystal Castles, but they have a very different style. Less like the soundtrack to Pokemon Red, more like the soundtrack to a night out in London’s dirtiest electro clubs, which is probably where you’re most likely to find them. Pardon Garcon was on the 5th Kitune Compilation, and it’s not to be missed.

MP3: autoKratz – Pardon Garcon

MSTRKRFT

More cerial remixers here. Former Death From Above 1979 bassist Jesse F. Keller’s side-project-now-full-time-project with former DFA1979 producer Al-P, MSTRKRFT have not only remixed everyone from Death From Above 1979 themselves to Bloc Party (twice, surpise surprise) Wolfmother, Metric, The Gossip, Juliette and The Licks, The Kills, Justice, New Young Pony Club, All Saints (yes…) and even Kylie Minogue, all with amazing results, but their debut albumThe Looks was brilliant too. These guys have to be heard to be believed. Truly awesome, especially when you factor in that they like a bit of cow bell too…

That about wraps up our dance special, but don’t forget to pick up an empeethree partybag on your way out.

MP3: MSTRKRFT – Paris vs. Music Sounds Better With You (Live)

MP3: Bloc Party – Two More Years (MSTRKRFT Remix)

MP3: Justice – D.A.N.C.E. (MSTRKRFT Remix)

MP3: Kylie Minogue – Wow (MSTRKRFT Remix)

Enjoy. Dance. The New Sound. x