Saturday, 18 June 2011

Bon Iver - Bon Iver

What set Bon Iver’s first album apart from others was its ability to find a place deep in the heart of its listeners. It was music that reminded them of where they were when they first heard it. I was driving slowly past Fistral Beach in Newquay with a Swedish girl who is now my girlfriend. See it just happened to me! It begs the question…How can Justin Vernon/Bon Iver recapture this magic? Surely he couldn’t do it again…

Well all I can say is prepare for the best album you will have heard this year.

It begins with a pleasant reminder of the ghostly, layered harmonies and soulful melodies that was so synonymous with the first album. There is a heavier use of percussion in the first few tracks that sounds like a theatrical piece depicting a battle scene, not to dissimilar to PJ Harvey’s approach to ‘Let England Shake’. The military sound dies away beautifully on ‘Halocene’, intertwined with Vernon’s effervescent voice.

The album progressed into playful melodies that lean slightly outside of the usual, and touch on more ‘poppier’ hooks that have positive inflections. Michicant is the climax of the album, so full of emotion and enchanting sounds that it’s hard to continue through the album without restarting this track at least twice more.

It needless to say that album follows through to the end beautifully and as naturally as if the tracks have been destined to proceed one another. The music is timeless and I truly believe it will be preferred to the first album by many. It feels unbelievable to say that, but you have to hear this album.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

This weeks 3...

One of the better tracks from the new album, 'The Hellcat Spangled Shalalalal' or somethin. Look out for the line 'makes me wanna blow the candles out, just to see if you glow in the dark...'  nice.

Martin Kemp Welch! Five aside football rules! From new Art Brut Album.

aaand finally Big L, he would of been 37 last week, heres one of his classics....

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Suck it and See – Arctic monkeys

Never have I ever experienced such anticipation as I did before the release of ‘my old favourite bands’ first album. I remember watching them support Maximo Park at the NME Awards Tour about a year before the record was in stores and everyone at the gig knew every word to every track they played. It was a hysteria I attributed to what my Dad must have felt like during early Zeppelin, or older mates with ‘Definitely Maybe’.

‘Suck it and See’ is the Arctic Monkey’s soon to be released new album (6th of June), and it’s fair to say there’s not loads of hype. Maybe due to the heavier last album (Humbug) that took another direction and thus drove away from many of their fans (mainly the carling-guzzling, burberry clad bag ‘eds that made up eighty percent of their first album fan base). Now I’m not saying I’m a bag ‘ed, but it drove me away.  Guilt will be a feeling many listeners to the new album will feel if they can bring themselves to invest back into their old friends. Guilt because of how in love you once were and easily you dismissed your old flame. Although it wont hurt so much that you have to buy ‘Humbug’ to make up for your absence of loyalty, rather you will just stick on ‘Whatever people say…’ and reminisce of the good times.

‘Suck it and See’ is a frustrating album. Unfortunately for Arctic Monkey’s, as musicians, the revolutionary style of their first album will be what everyone remembers, and wants from them. It’s what I want. I want Fake Tales of San Francisco, I want ‘tracky bottoms tucked in socks’, I want new material that replicates the old stuff. It narrow minded and naïve, but its what everyone’s thinking.

Music Critics admire Arctic Monkeys for their experimentation with new sound, and rightfully deserved. This album seems to a culmination of the sounds they have worked on with all of their previous albums. Turners lyrics have an element of the playfulness they once had, especially on ‘Don’t Sit Down’ – ‘Do the macerena in the devils lair….but just don’t sit down cos I’ve moved yer chair…’. The guitars are hard rocking and distorted much like Humbug. Melodically, the album has the potential for some ‘choons’, but it’s Turners voice and lyrics that seem to be the only thing that is saving Monkey’s from being just another rock band.

Acknowledgment of the youthfulness they no longer possess is indicated in Turners lyrics on ‘All my own Stunts’, - ‘Put on your dancing shoes, and show me what to do’ – its seems they are even reminiscing of a time we’ve all forgotten.

The album will be a success, because there are still many Arctic Monkeys fans loyal to their progression, although they don’t sound like a bunch of mates putting songs together about girls and beer anymore. It’s all too serious and expressionist now. We want impressionist, say-it-how-it-is music for the impressionable. Nobody likes change, and everybody loves the early stuff Monkeys did. It’s just science.

It’s nice to hear what my old mates have been up too, but it’s like they’ve been to University and met new mates who I don’t get on with. I just want the old days back.

Now where did I put that first album….


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Nothing to Envy – Real Lives in North Korea.

‘In the futuristic dystopia imagined in 1984, George Orwell wrote of a world where the only color to be found was in the propaganda posters. Such is the case in North Korea.’

The book that led me towards Barbara Demick’s ‘Nothing to Envy’, was Jung Chang’s ‘Wild Swans’. Jung Chang’s document explicitly revealed the realities of Mao’s China, and the atrocities that took place during his dictatorship. The novel not only dealt with the political impact of Mao’s idea of communism brilliantly, but also the humanitarian impact in a way that is yet to be matched. The book’s success was astonishing.

Demick’s account approaches Il-Sung and Jong-Ils North Korea in a similar way; using personal accounts of refugees she has met during her life in South Korea, and from regular (and closely guided) visits to North Korea. Her vast knowledge of the Korean peninsular and the conviction of her accounts make for just as astonishing a read as ‘Wild Swans’, and could be the considered the first book to come close to Chang’s bestseller in terms of the portrayal of far-east totalitarianism and the impact it has on the people.

What it lacked in plausibility at times, (in contrast to Chang’s book, Demick used sources accounts instead of experience), it made up for in the sheer depth of the research and constant presentation of evidence that added weight to the claims. The use of personal stories so as to demonstrate the impact of Il-Sung and Jong-Ils reign on a wide-variety of people was a wonderful way to approach the book. In under 300 pages she fits in the life stories of six people. Her accounts are brilliantly poised before each continuation of another, and the whole book reads like a complex novel the plays out the lives of six people that connect in some way. Unfortunately, her sources connect through the turmoil of the totalitarian society they were born in, and the shared desire they all acted upon in escaping from their homeland.

Sometimes, it begs the question as to whether the sources may hold an underlying grudge against their country that have induced a certain degree of exaggeration, but I personally believe that even the most skeptical reader will be astonished by the accounts of these peoples lives. It’s a fascinating book that will surely have resonance when the inevitable happens in the near future and the North Korea ceases to exist under its current rule. (It only seems to be a matter of time.)

I recommend this book to everyone as it is a wonderful piece of journalism about the world’s most secretive country. 

Monday, 23 May 2011

This weeks 3...

Every week now ill give 3 offerings of cool new tracks for you to enjoy, then you can enjoy them for the rest of your lives!

  Bleeding Knees Club - Have Fun

                                                                    ^--- free download ere        <-----^

Atmosphere - She's Enough

PJ Harvey - Written on the Forehead - from 'words cant describe how awesome it is' album Let England Shake.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Music Video Review - Bears Killing Bears - Too Familiar  <<----- The video :) 

                                                                     ^---- The Band :) 

Up and coming talent will be another aspect to the ‘daveygreviews’ blog, and with that announcement, I bring you the first music video release from Leeds based rock outfit, ‘Bears Killing Bears’.

Once again, as a purist, I believe a live music video should be included in a bands portfolio as early as possible. It should capture their spirit, realize their drive and show fans what to expect from a live performance. Given the abundance of early potential that ‘Bears’ have, the first music video would be a delicate and difficult operation. The spirit of the band would mean a video that gets right amongst them in full flow. This video has achieved all of the above.

Bears managed to enrol the senior photographer of Whitelines Snowboard Magazine, Dan Medhurst, who shoots the band playing in their Hyde-Park-student-house-basement. It begins with said basement, barely lit, and full of the bands fans, a tribal-like gathering of their disciples whos faces are painted white with skull-like black eyes. It’s eerie, hardcore and brilliant. Medhurst puts himself dead centre and follows the proceedings as if he himself were moshing as hard as every one else in the room. A great idea to capture Bear’s spirit.

The video is a four-minute onslaught that is hard to take your eyes away from, particularly with the lead singer Andy Harley who has the charisma and voice that will set this band apart from others. The fact the band share the skull-like face paint symbolise the band are as much fans of the music they create as every-one else in that cramped basement. The oneness between band and fan is evident.

The prospect that Bear’s could be the best thing to happen to this brand of British Metal since ‘Gallows’ is all to obvious now, and the luck seems to be on their side with Dan Medhurst on board. (A glimpse of a Gallows t-shirt clad fan in the ‘Too Familiar’ video represents a wealth of potential fans yet to discover Bears Killing Bears).

In producing Bear’s first video, Medhurst achieves his objectives and the viewer will be enticed to delve deeper into Bear’s brand of metal. It will be interesting to see where Bears Killing Bears can go creatively with their music video offerings in the future, but for now, the musical offerings provide ample satisfaction. A full review of their first EP is on the way. <----more bears music on ere. 

Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

The wonderful thing about Sweden is its capacity to produce special music and artists. Lykke Li has been considered another special artist since her first album ‘Youth Novels’ was released in 2008. A wholly well received album, although music critics noted an element of tentativeness towards the sound she was trying to create. If anything, this simply created more anticipation for her second outing, ‘Wounded Rhymes’, as her sound would surely mature with age and experience.

At 25, Lykke Li has produced an album with a swaggering confidence that never hesitates in its delivery. And swagger is the key word with this album. Tracks like ‘Get Some’ and ‘I Follow Rivers’ will give you an insight into exactly what Lykke Li wants from her music. It’s cool and refreshing, and outmuscles all the misconceptions about any tentativeness in her music.

‘Like a shotgun, needs an outcome, I’m your prostitute, come and get some…’

Get some is the stand out track on the album. Mainly due to the plethora of violent and sexual images that she spits out, and the tribal drums that perfectly compliment her aggressive lyrical content. It seems this is the sound Lykke Li, her fans, and her critics have been waiting for.

The album gives the impression that Li will throw herself, whole-heartedly, into everything she tries. The melodies she creates are beautiful and tender, particularly on ‘Sadness is a Blessing’, which adds another element to her growing repertoire. Her lyricism is passionate and heartfelt at times, ruthless and sexual at others. It still has the element of youthfulness that fans of the first album will be expecting, but a maturity that will pull in fans who don’t just know her from Twilight: Full moon or New moon or whatever.

A track that will find a place in many a listener’s heart is track eight; ‘I Know Places’ which recalls all the end of the party moments that you will have had in you college/university days. Her voice and the accompanying guitar have a certain lethargy that sets the perfect atmosphere and suits the lyrical content beautifully.

As always in my reviews, I tend to shed some light on the negative aspects at the end, my reasoning’s for this… I don’t know.

Something that crops up occasionally whilst listening to this album is the helplessness towards making comparisons with the other elite solo-artists. I won’t say too much about when and where on the album this occurs (at times its blatantly obvious), but it is does slightly detract from the uniqueness of both artist and record. Gritty electro pop is Lykke Li’s thing, and at times, although admirable and enjoyable, her experiments with new sounds may bear too many similarities with the elite for some listeners.

BUT, as she drones through another album with a swaggering confidence much longed for after ‘Youth Novels’, this should surely confirm her status as queen bee of the electro-pop scene. Thank you Sweden. (Tack så mycket)