aural delights – 16th March 2011

A mixture of the old and the new on this show….

  1. Trevor Sensitive and the Locals – Kaliedoscope Pop – Show Exclusive – originally planned as part of a session that has had to be postponed because of other commitments…..Birmingham’s true masters of pure pop in fine fettle……
  2. The Counterpoints – Catalyst – Promo – I played this last week and I like it so much i’m doing it again.
  3. Shy and The Fight – How to Stop an Imploding Man – Self Released EP – local indie folk heroes from round these parts who appear to be getting a bit of a name for themselves.
  4. The Wookies – Black Dotted Devils – Demo – Warrington noise merchants having fun in the only way they can.
  5. Danny Short – Boat – Love Has Gone – from the new album which is out next month…..don’t forget the free download EP which you can get from here…..
  6. Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers – Death By Chocolate – Yelling Boil – as interviewed earlier in the evening by Stephen Doyle on his Sonic Diaries – the fabulous new album is another masterpiece. It will be available soon I’m advised.
  7. Mogwai – Mexican Grand Prix – Hardcore Will Never Die – a return to form after the disappointment of Hawk is Howling. The true progenitors of post-rock.
  8. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Anxiety –  Rush to Relax – thanks to the Great Gibbo for pointing out this noisy garage outfit. A great band with a unique sound.
  9. The Narrows – WTC7 – Through Constant Decay – local band with a new EP which is very good indeed – get it from Bandcamp.
  10. Covenant – Wir Sind Sie Nacht (Edit) – Soundtrack – swedish electro masters do a soundtrack from a new vampire movie.
  11. The Go-Betweens – German Farmhouse – The Friends  of Rachel Worth – one of the greatest songwriting duos ever…..the sadly missed Australian pair were masters of their craft as evidenced from this rocky Robert Forster tune from one their greatest albums. Some would argue that they were not as good when they returned from their hiatus – I have to disagree.
  12. Van Der Graaf Generator – Pilgrims – Still Life – new album out this week but back to the masterpiece second phase album. I saw them perform this at UMIST at the time of the release – a memorable evening – a packed room with sweat dripping off the ceiling. Hammill is in fine voice here in one of the bands most evocative songs… it a love song? Most of them are but you wouldn’t know it.
  13. Dave Graney ‘N’ The Coral Snakes  – Morrison Floorshow – The Baddest – the great man has a new album out soon but i’ve been meaning to play this excellent Coral Snakes track which has amazing lyrics and a great four to floor funky feel – Dave rips into tribute bands with his usual insouciant swagger.

To listen to the show……click the link below

a handful of albums – 2011 – part 1

A few short reviews of new albums…….some of which will appear on future editions of Aural Delights……

Covenant – Modern Ruin – (Synthetic Symphony) – a strange marriage of EBM, euro electronica, epic pop with a slight trip-hop tinge. Their 12th album and there has been a gap of four years and the predecessor “In Transit”. Comes with a second disc of soundtrack music from a German vampire movie “Wir Sind Die Nacht” (We Are The Night). Overall a little too melodic pop for my taste, the second disc being far more to my liking with its motorik arpeggiations and guttural tones, altogether darker and more interesting.

Iron and Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean- (Warner Brothers) – Sam Beam’s fifth album sees him move from Sub-Pop to Warners. The move to a major has not in anyway dissipated his particular form of quirky americana. An enjoyable ramble through a range of songs which keep matters at a sultry low tempo, with an interesting use of glitchy electronica, and vintage synths. Quintessentially american on a vocal level but suitably different to attract the attention.

James Blake – James Blake – (Universal) – Rob Gregg of Borland and I both have both separately concluded we are slightly disappointed with this after the challenging quality of his early work. This is a strange amalgam of glitchy dub-step and a mutated pop-gospel. A very minimal soundscape is perhaps buried in the vocal performance which is a tad mannered and the sonic interruptions are a little obvious in the great scheme of things. Compared with the quirky sample mangling and percussive intensity of say “CMYK” it all feels a bit safe.

Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will- (Sub Pop) – described elsewhere as “back to basics” this certainly returns to the core of the Mogwai modus operandi. What differentiates this from your bog-standard post rock is the movement away from the basic 4/4 approach to more quirky rhythms and the greater effort put into melody and counterpoint, and the willingness to jump outside the genre specifics associated with this corner of the music scene. Somehow feels a little restrained after the overblown intensity of “The Hawk is Howling” and in places the band almost become a strange amalgam of Kraftwerk and Suicide. The closing You’re Lionel Ritchie is an amazing piece of music. Most enjoyable.

The Decemberists – The King is Dead – (Rough Trade) – interesting , if not successful, change in direction for Colin Meloy and his band of troubadours shifting from his anglophile style to an altogether more american feel.  He seems to have lost some of his unique sound by embracing a far more stateside sound. The use of Peter Buck on three of the songs tends towards a very R.E.M. sound which doesn’t sit well on a Decemberists album. Nowhere near as good as “The Hazards of Love”. Disappointing.

Braids – Native Speaker – (Kanine) – this is more like it, bloody marvellous in fact. The  opening track Lemonade sets the scene, with intricate playing from guitars, busy drumming and an amazing vocal from  Raphaelle Standell-Preston. Overall there is an effective distillation of bits of dream pop, and repetitive electronica. Bjork is clearly some sort of influence but there is a smattering of Cocteau Twins in there as well.  There is a lot of variety on this album and the glitchy electronica of Glass Deers offers a different aspect to the overall sound of the album. The title track is a beautifully restrained piece music almost outdoing Sigur Ros at their most cinematic – Raphaelle’s vocal moves from fractured innocence to menacing intensity. Highly recommended!