Monday, 9 September 2013

New Music Monday #68

by Arctic Monkeys (9th September 2013)

When I first saw the clip for the first single 'Do I Wanna Know' from the Arctic Monkeys latest album AM, I wasn't really that impressed. I thought it was the easiest clip ever made and a little bit dull. The second time I saw the clip was with my fellow blogger Matt and I think we had both made the same mistake, not getting past the first impressions of the clip and assuming something we clearly didn't actually know. Well, that was a mistake I won't make again. An important lesson was learnt.  Never assume anything, because some albums will give you much more than you originally expect.

With the band's fifth album AM, I thought I knew what to expect; essentially an Arctic Monkeys album - a little bit rock, with that English sound they do so well and a couple of songs that have that Arctic Monkeys lyric that I find myself repeating at inopportune moments, like I've done with "I bet you look good on the dance floor" for more than a few years now.  What I ended up with was an album full of things I love - heavy fast beats, slow grinds, lyrics that make no sense but somehow take you to places other than wherever you are and a confidence that only a handful of bands manage to achieve without being arrogant and untouchable.

Opening with the second single 'Do I Wanna Know' and following with the first single 'R U Mine', they are songs that mean business, opening an album that is stronger and more diverse than I ever expected. This isn't an album begging for fans, it's confident, it's solid and it's bold, immediately I'm sure this is a band happy with where they're at and happy to play the music they love. The beat and strong guitar on 'Do I Wanna Know' leave enough room for Alex Turner to drag you into his world pleading "do you want me crawling back to you?" and 'R U Mine' has a sense of familiarity while still sounding like new Arctic Monkeys. It's a sense that follows throughout the album; 'One For The Road' a classic almost 70s rock sound anthem, 'I Want It All' a classic almost 80s rock sound, 'No. 1 Party Anthem' a classic almost Beatles sound; they're all songs that have that familiar vocal of Turner's deep drawl and they all pay tribute to songs before them without sounding copied.

'Mad Sounds' and 'Fireside' mid way through the album are slower tunes, which give a chance to sit still for a minute or six, but the simple feel of 'Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?' shouldn't be mistaken as a simple track, the bass line is such a pleasant groove and the drums are almost a hip hop rhythm, it's the perfect feel to lead into the pop, almost r 'n' b like 'Snap Out Of It', which is a track I totally wasn't expecting or expecting to love. The lesson about thinking I knew what to expect? Learnt at track ten.

This is an album that is essentially everything Arctic Monkeys, but everything new. The four piece are obviously comfortable with who they are as musicians and are now at a point in their career where they're content to play what they are familiar with and yet confident enough to create sounds that still sound fresh. This is rock songwriting at its best and a rock band at their most comfortably mature to date. I love it when albums like AM remind me of bands I like and make me re-visit albums I've forgotten about. I love it when bands like the Arctic Monkeys re-teach me lessons about music I already know. While sometimes things in rock are obvious, don't always assume you know where a clip or a band is going to take you, because sometimes they take you to places and songs you don't expect and sometimes they take you straight back to track one to hit play and experience the whole thing over and over again.

Jo Michelmore gives 'AM' four Dave Grohl heads out of five...

Black Cat
by Deep Sea Arcade

It's been 18 months since Sydney five piece Deep Sea Arcade released their first full length album Outlands and while that was received incredibly well, if they keep up with singles like 'Black Cat', I suspect the next album is going to be loved even more. The band have spent most of the past year in the UK and the sounds of the UK have even more influence than their first release, this track being incredibly comfortable with a britpop tag, a psychedelic rock sounding two minutes and forty five seconds that begs to be danced to. I kinda love it and can't wait to hear what other new tunes they've got to show off when they tour with Hey Geronimo in October to celebrate the release of this catchy single.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Black Cat' four Michael Hutchence heads out of five...


Feels Like
by Peking Duk

So first of all a disclaimer. I have connections to this clip. Personal connections. My talented housemate Mish is an artist of all sorts and is always off on some creative endeavour. For this clip she was the first Assistant director - which means for the uninitiated that she was the “behind the scenes” juggler of sorts. She managed schedules and shot lists and cast on the day (among a mammoth list of other things). Mish is often working on different film projects and I just happened to see her post this clip onto her facebook page when it was released at the end of last month.

I instantly fell in love with this clip. Apart from the fact that it is hilarious, it has a big heart underneath it. In the ilk of the 80s dance hit “Mania” or the films “Flashdance” or “Footloose” the message in this clip is clear and inspiring: do what you love. Be your own hero. Dance like no-one is watching. And embrace and celebrate - unashamedly - your inner dag. There is a definite Napoleon Dynamite element to the look and feel of this clip. From the beautiful bright colours, the splashes of dramatic yet cheery light and to the central character in the clip: Gareth.

Gareth is the epitome of the anti hero. He isn’t necessarily handsome. He definitely has no street cred. Or fashion sense. But Gareth has a community dance school. And he has a dream (which he fuels with watching copious videos of dancing, reading dance magazines and of course - eating a healthy breakfast). His dance moves are awkward, very comical yet embody the driving beat of this wonderful dance song. At this point I should mention the incredibly catchy song itself from Canberra outfit Peking Duk. This song has strictly Friday/Saturday party written all over it. It’s a feel good track that makes you want to move your feet (or tap the steering wheel if your driving). It’s no wonder there was the choice to marry the track with the dance themed clip. There is a delightful build in the song which I hang out for every time. And it adds the sound sparkles to the track - and literally in the clip.

I have to say I am a sucker for a feel good story. And so I must admit that I even got a lump in my throat with the first watch of this clip. I’m sure you may think that something is wrong with my emotional response, but let me explain. Yes, the clip is hilarious. Yes, it’s a parody. Yes, it features a lot of awkward dancing (and glitter shots). But I am always moved to see the underdog holding their power. And I am known in my circle of friends to usually be the dag who gets the dance floor started. Well, if I didn’t do it - who would right?

But I think the main reason why I was moved is because I know so many artists who do what they love and dream of being recognised for their passions and their craft. The journey as an artist is not glamorous. It's a tough road carved purely out of passion. The artists I know work hard day and night to just scrape a living. Most of them border on obscurity. But all of them know that delicious feeling you get when they find flow and connection in their art: be it through acting, art, writing, music or yes, even 80s power dancing.

Deservedly this track is flying up high in the charts. As I write this, it’s sitting at number 2 on the Aria club charts, number 11 on the dance single chart and number 15 on the Australian singles.

So put on your dance shoes, close the blinds (if it helps) and release your inner dance guru and let those dance moves fly!

Lou Endicott gives 'Feels Like' five Madonna heads out of five...

Sleeping At Your Door
by Lime Cordiale
EP: Falling Up The Stairs (out now)

While Matt liked Lime Cordiale's EP Falling Up The Stairs EP last week, I wasn't totally convinced until I saw the clip for 'Sleeping At Your Door' this week. Now? Yes, I agree, Lime Cordiale are a band made for summertime and long drives and fun times. I've got no idea where this clip was filmed, but the almost grainy clip makes me want to go there. If it wasn't for the 90s inspired hipster clothes the boys are wearing, I could almost be convinced this was filmed on a hand held video tape style camcorder (which some readers are going to be too young to even know what that is. Before phones took clips, people were forced to use other devices. Go google. It's a wealth of history and information. I use it all the time.) I also can't help but love the silly lyrics, with some of the finest worst rhyming lyrics I've heard in a while - "I know you are older than me, two years approximately". How does he keep a straight face singing that into the camcorder? I don't know but I love it. 

Jo Michelmore gives 'Sleeping At Your Door' three Gotyes heads out of five...

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