Beirut @ Queen Elizabeth Halls Foyer
I've only really got into Beirut's debut album in the past 3 or 4 weeks, before that i just didn't get it. Postcards From Italy made sense to me and i loved it but the rest of the album just never fell into place for me. The tone of the music has a paradoxical element to it where it can be both upbeat and melancholic simultaneously which messed with my head and the instrument that drives most of the songs is the accordion which my musical ear was unfamiliar with so it didn't work for me but there has been so much adoration for Zac Condon and his merry players in the blog-o-sphere that i felt i had to make a conserved effort to understand why.
The opportunity arised when Zac and co. announced a free concert on London's South Bank, sandwiched between their set at Glasto and their Koko show and so i dragged a few friends along. The foyer in the Queen Elizabeth Halls was jam-packed - everyone loves freebies - so we couldn't get the best view but it turned out it didn't matter as the exuberance and confidence from the young musicians filled the room.
Unluckily the sound and mix of the performance wasn't perfect, meaning parts of songs and certain instruments, particularly the violin, were drowned out on occasions and the crowd were the usual London type of static, dreary types but the band seemed unconcerned, all smiles and passion.
Highlights of the set were Postcards From Italy, Elephant Gun, the moment the horns burst in on Mount Wroclai and a new song that i missed the name of, all these and every song they played were greeted with rapturous applause and it was during this set that it all made sense, i can't explain it, but after seeing them live it now all seems to fit into place. I wish it had happened sooner.
Beirut - Postcards From Italy
Beirut - Mount Wroclai
Thanks go to Three Pink Monkeys who let me use a photo of hers as my camera turned out to bee useless as i forgot to put the memory card in it.
A couple of remixes appeared in my inbox a few days back so i thought i'd share them with you.
Firstly there's the Sportsday Megaphone remix of The Rumble Strips' track Alarm Clock. Its very doof-doofy and sounds a bit like the music from Tetris, which i'd say is a good thing. Apparently the record label didn't like it, wanting "something a bit more 'kraftwerk'" but i think its a nice little take on a cool track
Next up is the VanShe Technologic remix of Feist's 1234. It starts as a laid-back electro version of such a joyous song - have you seen the video for the original version? - and then kicks in at about the 2 minute mark with a noise that sounds like a bunged-up frog and some heavy bass and just carries on from there. Feist's cooing vocals just smooth the whole track out and it actually all works really well.
The Rumble Strips - Alarm Clock (Sportsday Megaphone Stereo Adventure Remix)
Feist - 1234 (VanShe Technologic Remix)
This appeared on Tilly And The Wall's myspace a few days ago. Its CSS remix of their last single The Freest Man and its really good. The standard Tilly tap-dancing has been replaced by a thudding beat and is backed by a fluttery, floatly synth but TATW summery, carefree attitude still pushes through. Great track for this time of year.
Tilly And The Wall - The Freest Man (CSS remix)
Slow Club @ Lee Rosy's Tea Room
For a headline tour, a small cafe in the back streets of Nottingham wouldn't be the normal venue but Slow Club aren't your everyday band. Unsigned but gained increasing amounts of buzz continually, their first roam around the country as headliners, in support of their debut single Because We're Dead must have been a scary prospect for the pair, especially when the support act was so good.
His name was Michael Rossiter and he played quite traditional folk and bluesy numbers but his guitar playing was exceptional, especially when he sung so well over the top of the complex and melodic plucked notes. He looked intimidate by the intimacy of the venue to begin with but once he got going, he was brimmed with confidence. He ended his set in the middle of the room, banjo in hand, foot a-stomping, singing an old sea shanty and attempting to get us all to sing along...and we did.
Now normally i'm a little bit tipsy by the time the main act comes on stage but as no alcohol was being served (a strawberry milkshake its substitute) its was odd not to be holding a pint as Rebecca and Charles took to the stage...well more like the front of the room. As soon as they started playing it all fell into place, the venue, the tea, the cake, the milkshake all seemed to be encompassed in their sweet harmonies and cute and kooky lyrics. Aside from their quirkiness, what sets them apart from other folk pop acts is Rebecca's intriguing percussion set up. Consisting of bass drum, snare, tambourine, she also incorporates odd objects into songs, tuneful bottles (Message In A Bottle), spoons (I'm Alive) and a wooden chair (Me & You) which in all creates an unique sound, which is both catchy and completely uplifting.
The set was a blast. They rattled through over ten songs in just over half an hour with Charles breaking a string and Rebecca hitting her drums so hard that the fairy lights wrapped around them kept flickering off. Their excitement and playfulness was infectious, which only lulled when they slowed the tempo for an old track Biology Hearts which was perfectly placed in the set as a somber contrast to the rest of the tunes.
The gig may have been a slightly different experience for the duo than the night before, where they played to a sold out room in Sheffield, all singing along to their songs, but the twenty or so folks who made the effort to make it to Lee Rosy's were given an intimate treat and Slow Club seem to appreciate and acknowledge it with huge smiles and the catchiest of catchy tunes.
Michael Rossiter - Jack Went A-Sailing
Slow Club - Slow Club Summer Shakedown
Slow Club - Biology Hearts
See more photos from the gig at my flickr (cheers Mark) and if you haven't voted in the Friday Face-Off, check out the post below and let us know which is the better summer song.
Friday Face-off : Round 7
Back by the popular demand (of one person) is the weekly(?) feature of the Friday Face-off. If you're new to the blog, here's the rules: a topic is picked, then me and Neb (occasional and sporadic contributor) each choose a song related to the topic and pit them against each other. You, the reader, get to vote on who wins and therefore who has the better musical taste. The score at the moment is 3-1 to me, woopwoop!
This Friday's theme is the ultimate summer song so get out your suntan lotion, put on some flip-flops, give them tunes a listen, follow our reasoning and vote by adding a comment at the bottom of the page.
I think Neb should go first today
Feeder - Just A Day
This was a surprisingly hard choice, really didn't want to pick a throwaway song, so Walking On Sunshine's out...relief there! This is probably cheating but wanted to pick a song that makes me think of Summer and can do so in the middle of winter. Just A Day can make November, pissing down at work feel like a festival. Make sure no one's looking, turn it up and bounce around the room for 3 minutes. Hopefully we'll forget that its Summer now and its still raining.
Ok lets see if i can beat that
M.I.A. - Hit That
I've gone for an artist who i can already say will be my artist of this Summer. Everything i've heard off her forthcoming album, Kala, has filled me with euphoric glee. I think it must be her range of samples and beats that make this track sound exotic, warm and sexy. I can see this being the soundtrack to some lazy days with a bbq and some beers that stretch long into the evening. The album's so good that this track didn't even make the cut, so its gonna be damn good.
p.s. I got my Physics degree, i am now a Bachelor of Science, how clever do i sound?!!
Ok so there you go. Get voting and let the best man win.
Just a quick one as i'm tired and fancy an afternoon nap.
Esiotrot - yes named after the Roald Dahl book - are a seven piece from Kent and are part of the Mentalist Association, a collective "make zines, put on shows, make art and release cdrs and real cds." They capture Roald's quirky and childish sense of fun in a net of bouncy guitars, laconic vocals and sprightly brass lines, making for a charming, energetic mixture of sounds not unsimilar to bands like Los Campesinos! and 4 Or 5 Magicians. They play songs about dancing to My Chemical Romance, being a nice guy in a world of bad boys and obscure artists, which all point the finger to that dreaded word...twee, and yes sometimes it verges on cutesy but its just great sprakly indie pop the rest of the time.
They have an album, Schmesiotrot, through the Mentalist Association and they did a live session for Huw Stevens' Radio 1 show last week, which is here for your audible enjoyment.
That wasn't very short, sleepy time.
Esiotrot - Bethany I Concur
Esiotrot - My Chemical Romance Saved My Life
Esiotrot - Emily Scott
Esiotrot - Oskar Kokoschka
The Mix Up
I was as much anxious as i was excited about hearing this album for the first time. An all instrumental album by The Beastie Boys...those obnoxious looking, VW-sign wearing young white kids who always had lot to say and weren't afraid to say it. To be honest, that was twenty years ago now and in that time they've produced progressively more mature material - thats what growing up does to you. 2004's To The 5 Boroughs found a more introspective, political Mike, Adam and Adam voicing their concerns about the world and the States in particular.
So The Mix Up leaves The Beasties without a voice, without their weapon of choice, unarmed but this isn't unfamiliar waters for the Boys as they did start out as a hardcore band, playing all their own instruments...ok the album isn't exactly hardcore, there's nothing core about it at all but it definately puts up a barrier to prevent any all-out attacks. Its funky, loungey, there's a bit of porn groove going on at times and it only skims the cheesey layer on a few occasions. Its interesting as well, there's alot going on unlike some instrumental albums were it gets tiresome after a couple of tracks, there's enough cool little riffs and basslines and samples to keep me happy and grooving for the whole album. Its like they're still trying to fight for their right to party, only this time its more like a dinner party and you know theirs would be the coolest dinner party ever.
The Beastie Boys - The Rat Cage
The Beastie Boys - The Cousin Of Death
Tesco Value Til I Die
Influences can be a odd thing for a band. Some try to incorporate as many sounds into their music as possible, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Then you get the bands who are obviously influenced by one artist more than any other. 4 Or 5 Magicians fall into the latter, and their main influence is Pavement. Lead singer and guitarist, Dan Ormesby has been quoted in say that if his music was a piece of clothing it would be Steven Malkmus' diaper. And in that one quote is the essence of their music, its self aware, funny and self deprecating but melodic and technical so not to be classed as comedy.
The tracks for download are rough demoes from their myspace, the quality isn't that great as the vocals are a bit quiet in the mix but there's alot of promise to be heard. From the subtle guitar work to the ever so honest lyrics about trying to make something of your life on Forever On The Edge, which contains one of the best first lines i've heard in ages - "I wasted my youth playing cricket..."
They've already been branded by DrownedInSound as "One of Brighton's best new secrets", have a single coming out in June on the Alcopop! label and are starting a tour in a few days so i would try and see them before they work their magic on the masses
4 Or 5 Magicians - Forever On The Edge
4 Or 5 Magicians - Your Ficticious Character
Summer Starts Here
I'm done. No more Uni ever again, never have to write another equation or work out an integral in my life. Its kinda sad in a way, i got quite sentimental about it all during my last exam, which is odd coz i haven't really enjoyed the Physics in the whole 3 years of my degree but it was rewarding to learn so many interesting facts and actually use my brain in a productive way.
Anyway now i've finished, i've got the whole summer to look forward to and i can also be a bit more regular with my updating the blog as i've been slack in the last couple of months. There should be a bit of a makeover coming funfunfun's way in the near future but as its bright and sunny today i thought i'd put up a bit of a summer mix for your listening pleasure.
Panda Bear - Comfy In Nautica
Booji Boy High - Twist Myself Again
Johnny Flynn - Brown Trout Blues
Timbaland (Feat. Nelly Furtado and JT) - Give It To Me
Weezer - Don't Let Go
Findlay Brown - Losing The Will To Survive (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Reanimation)
N.E.R.D - She Wants To Move