Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Battles have been labelled a Math Rock band, basically meaning their music is based round intricate time signatures and off set, weird sounding riffs. I hate using genres but to be fair Battles do follow this mindset of music quite closely. Formed in New York and mildly famous for having the drummer from Hexstatic their recently released album 'Mirrored' is very hypnotic, prog, instrumental LP, some of it good, some of it just OK. Their best songs usually involve treated vocals by Tyondai Braxton, making a sound somewhere between what can only be described as an Alien and a baby, they sound cool tho and sit well with the pounding drums, crunchy guitars and occasional flicker of keyboard/synth. The song I continue to come back to and is probably the most immediate track on the album is 'Atlas':

I've just read an interview with them in Plan B magazine where they explain how they write their songs:

“When we write songs, we have these charts on the wall, big pieces of easel paper, and we take a magic marker and write down names for the sections,” says Battles guitarist and keyboard player Ian Williams.

“Instead of it being traditional notation, we write down words to describe the parts, so ‘Tij’ starts with – what was the first thing?
Drummer John Stanier booms out, “‘Wooh!’”

Hearing them explain their song writing process makes a lot of sense. Mirrored is full of texture and subtle changes, sometimes they stick on an idea for a whole song, sometimes they move all over the place, their songs are quite full on but not too self indulgent. I think my favourite thing about the album is the way the guitars work together and against each other; I seem to remember someone describing it as a 'call and response' style, which is definitely on the money. Check out Race:Out and Snare Hanger and you'll understand exactly what I'm banging on about.

I think my only criticism of this album is the few songs which have no treated vocals just sound a but wacky, rather than proggy and interesting. 'Ddiamondd', is a perfect example of this; it doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the album especially when you compare it with the 5th song 'Leyendecker' which reverts back to the alienesque vocals, creepy little keyboards and precision drumming. I think they are their best when the vocals are another instrument rather than a proper vocal.

Check out Atlas, Leyendecker, Race:In and Race:Out as a way into this album.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

T Post

I stumbled across this site today called T Post. They describe themselves as 'alot like having subscription to a magazine but instead of receiving magazines in your mail box, you get T shirts.' And thats about it really. Each T shirt costs 26 euros and the majority of them are pretty cool. If only I had enough money to be whimsical and invest in something like this, twould be sweet....every six weeks you get T shirt based on something going on in the world, like in the photo above; the shirts are based on a report that scientists had discovered there is a section of the brain dedicated to selfishness....

T Post

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Knife | !!!

I'm pretty sick of 'Indie' these days, I say Indie for want of a better word really, but I guess I mean music with the standard guitar ideas that knock around these days. The world is lacking a Tom Morello or a young Jonny Greenwood, though Foals(http://www.myspace.com/foals), Battles (www.myspace.com/battlestheband) and Truckers of Husk(www.myspace.com/truckersofhusk) are all impressing me more and more...so I may have to take back my words pretty much before I even start to go off on one. However, for the last 2, 3 months The Knife and !!! (also know as chk chk chk) have kept me interested.

The Knife are an electronic duo from Sweden probably most famous for their song Heartbeats which was covered by Jose Gonzalez and then used on the Sony ad with the bouncing balls.

Well known for being incredibly anti interviews, anti journalists and anti press in general, they make up for it with the standard of their music. Before this year I wasn't really that into synths but I think The Knife were one of the main reasons why I've been converted. The use of synths and the dirty grimey bass that they use on their up tempo tracks are probably the best thing about them. Songs like We Share Out Mother's Health, Heartbeats, Like a Pen, One For You and Neverland use pumping synthetics beats to great effect, especially with Karin's Bjorkesque vocals. They also use simplistic guitar loops and minimalistic drums to great effect too. Bird and NY Hotel pull at the heart strings for a want of a better description. Particularly NY Hotels lyrics:

This is our last goodbye
Now you should be holding me

Punkrock t-shirt, black cap and tattoo
The first things I noticed about you

Now you should be holding me
Now you should be holding me

Maybe its the way Karin pulls them off with the eeire sounding keyboards in the background but a potentially cheesy lyric turns into a great one.



!!! don't do themselves any favours really, unless you use chk chk chk you'll find fuck all about them on t'internet. I guess it's something to do with using exclamation marks in google.

Nevertheless, !!! are fucking good, they're like a bastard child of punk, funk, electro, indie and anything else you can dance like a prick too. I saw them twice at Glastonbury and along with the Chemical Brothers they were the highlights. The majority of their songs are based around funky repetitive guitar riffs, pumping bass lines, alot of reverb on th guitars and some really cool synth noises. But personally it the guitar riffs and the drums that do it for me. Check out Myth Takes and look out for the riff in the chorus - gloriously pumping, also check out Pardon my freedom, Heart of Hearts, Dear Can and Yadnus which manages to use the Waa Waa pedal without sounding wank - a first since Rage Against the Machine me thinks... They have two vocalists who are quite different in style but like to get properly fucked up and get involved in the crowd. I remember them saying at Glastonbury that you should do as many drugs as possible and not to be a pussy about taking them, obviously they were off their tits at the time but it definitely gave the crowd something to think about. !!! are like a cross between The Rapture and LCD Sondsystem but a hell of a lot more fun, check out any three of their albums as a starter however I recommend Myth Takes if I had to choose.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Our Love to Admire?

OK, haven't done anything on this blog in a very long time, but a new leaf has been turned!

Is it just me or is the new Interpol album really lame? Having spoken to a fair few friends of mine about what they think I have come to the conclusion that it is a reasonable record but as a big Interpol fan, I think it's a complete let down. I hoped moving to a major a label wouldn't mean just more of the same but they have. The production on this record is my biggest issue (Rick Costey by the way, previously produced Muse and Franz Ferd). Theres no moodiness to it, no cityscape, cinematic darkness that Interpol were so good at. Our love to admire sounds like a Coldplay record to me, its far too clean and the bass is far too low on the mix considering how good Carlos can be as a bassist. It sounds like it has been made to be played in big venues, to tick the major label boxes which I find very disappointing.

Opening track Pioneer to the Falls, No I in Threesome and The lighthouse are definitely stand out tracks, particularly The Lighthouse which is a surprisingly refreshing song based around reverberating guitars and a great melody culminating in a triumphant drum beat. Bank's lyrics seem to be less ambiguous as well, which isn't a bad thing. Rest my chemistry is an impressive bit of poetry dealing with drugs I imagine while the music is very Interpol, breaky rhythm guitar and picky lead guitar blending into Kessler's trademark guitar solo like in NYC on Turn on the Bright Lights. Daniel Kessler's guitar lines used to be imaginative and, as a fellow guitarist, inspiring, but he's just recycled the same stuff on this album, only not as good. And as for the bass and drums, gone are the days of Obstacle 1. They were one of the main reasons why Interpol were an amazing band not just a good one, the way the bass wondered off on one, yet still held it together and Fogarino's drums with the little cheeky high hat tricks and thumping kick drum gave Interpol's music a depth that is lacking on this new record. The amount of times that Sam does the double snare tap like in Evil on Antics is ridiculous, once again more of the same. I've read a lot of posts on Drowned in Sound about giving this album five or six listens and I completely don't agree. Theres nothing to pick up on here, my 50th listen still sounds like the first or second, and I don't find myself drawn to any of the other songs like you do when getting into a great album. Like The Strokes their first album will always be their best and I would be surprised if they ever get close to equaling an album like Turn on the Bright Lights. To conclude, major labels are wank, they make you sound wank but they will make you rich. Also Carlos, you should stick to the Nazi chic, the tasche makes you look like a bell end.