Monday, 16 April 2012

New Music Monday #3



MTV Unplugged - A Live Album (2012)
by Florence + The Machine




Florence Welch can do no wrong. With a voice like hers, you'll never be able to convince me. Her voice is magnificent, a true force of nature and when you hear it live, there's nothing better. Florence Welch live is perfection. However, Florence + The Machine are at their best when given free reign to express their (her) theatricality. Soaring vocals, heavy percussion and strings battling for dominance and yes, a little bit of overproduction doesn't go against them (her). Were they able to pull off the raw and stripped down performances needed for MTV Unplugged? For the most part... yes. Opening with the incredible first track from Ceremonials, 'Only If For A Night,' Florence's voice immediately won me over. Like I said, there's nothing better than that voice live. The backing vocals never seemed to connect for me though, falling flat especially in the final, "yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-oh-oh," segment. 'Drumming Song' was sadly also a bit of a miss for me. The urgency in Lungs' original was completely lost, with a lack of the track's titular instrumentation probably playing a huge part in that. And then came 'Cosmic Love.' A song that fits perfectly into Unplugged's formula and Florence nailed the vocals (duh), even without heading to the recorded version's high notes. From here on in, everything is pure magic. 'Never Let Me Go' will break your heart, 'Try A Little Tenderness' will stitch it back together and then in walks Josh Homme to deliver a showstopping duet of Johnny Cash and June Carter's 'Jackson.' Where you been Homme? If you say it like homie, that joke is hilarious. Closing out the eleven-track set, 'Shake It Out' has never sounded better, bringing a fantastic end to a highly impressive live album. One that will likely become my favourite of 2012. Now, how does one rate a live album. It's not exactly Nirvana's MTV Unplugged, but it's a million times better than Korn's. Urgh. Florence + The Machine should be very proud of what they've accomplished here and you should definitely give it a listen... especially those covers of 'Try A Little Tenderness' and 'Jackson.' 







Matt Bond gives 'MTV Unplugged' four Kurt Cobain's out of five...


Haunted Gold
by Curxes




An electronic two piece, Curxes have been making waves in the UK for over a year and rightly so. A little bit Joy Division, a little bit Cure, a little bit Crystal Castles, a lot of fantastic, their latest track released on iTunes this month; ‘Haunted Gold’ is awesome in a truly awesome way; aggressive and solid, quick and catchy. One half of the duo, Roberta Fidora offers an incredible vocal, haunting and strong, with many referencing Siouxsie and The Banshees on hearing her voice. Although she sounds similar and comparisons can be hard to shake, being compared to the incredible Siouxsie Sioux is probably not the worst thing that can happen to a vocalist, however, Roberta’s voice is definitely her own and not a sound we’re hearing enough of at the moment. The other half of the duo, multi-instrumentalist Macaulay Hopwood provides the synth-pop keyboard track, ‘80’s inspired and almost theatrical in sound, it’s absolutely fabulous. Without a huge budget for clips, Roberta made this one herself over two months with a whole lot of gold glitter, a dodgy scanner, a lot of patience and many cups of tea. It goes to show a beautiful, creative mind is probably more important than lots of cash to make a great clip. When I discover music like this it makes me so glad the internet exists so I can find this from my lounge on the other side of the world. Can’t wait until the rest of the world wakes up so I can hear more from this talented duo.








Jo Michelmore gives 'Haunted Gold' four Shirley Manson's out of five...


Both of Us
by B.o.B ft. Taylor Swift
Album: Strange Clouds (May 1, 2012)


Is this the big rap/pop combo for 2012? If that catchy-as-all-hell chorus is anything to go by, all signs point to yes. B.o.B looks to have another 'Airplanes' level hit on his hands, this time raising the stakes by bringing in America's sweetheart, Taylor Swift (aka rap superstar, T-Sweezy). As is the case with most of these combos, you'll find yourself loving the chorus, losing it during the rap verses, regaining interest once more during the chorus and loving it again by the time you hear it for the final time. It's a trick to make you think the whole package is the greatest thing you've ever heard, but what can you do? Nothing. You can do nothing. When do you get to hear it? Soon, I suppose. 'Both of Us' seems to have disappeared completely from the internets and to that I say... what are you doing leakers? Letting the team down like that. Whatever, enjoy the time you have without the song. You'll be hearing it everywhere you go soon enough.


 






Matt Bond gives 'Both of Us' three Britney's out of five...


NEW MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK


Post War Blues
by Dan Mangan
Album: Oh Fortune (2011)




Let’s start by saying, it’s no secret I’m a Dan Mangan fan. A huge Dan Mangan fan. I love Dan Mangan. Ok? I’m a Mangan-phile. Hear me? I love Dan Mangan. Get it? Dan Mangan I love. In saying that, I’ll do my best to review ‘Post War Blues’ without too much bias, but we all know that I’m going to love it, alright? Alright. I’m a fan of clips that tell a story, so I like this one; a tribute/parody/copy (?) of the 1960’s cult film ‘Dr Strangelove’, it’s a little black and white story of adulthood, war, kids, rebellion and uselessness. From the beginning, a (insert appropriate politician name here) leader of generic country (insert Canada) mouths the opening lyric “Let’s start a war for the kids”, at which point the clip sucks you in and makes you watch the next 3 minute 40-something seconds without turning away. A little cheesy, a little obvious, set in a typical 1960’s style schooling environment and a typical round-table-war-room, the vision follows the lyric of the song almost exactly. That means no surprises for anyone familiar with the song, until the very end. I won’t ruin it for you, except to say there is a nuclear explosion. Nice. If this clip is any representation of the thought processes of adult vs. youth, I’m just going to say; I never want to grow up.









Jo Michelmore gives the 'Post War Blues' video three Dixie Chicks' out of five...

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