Thursday, 27 August 2009
A quick update from DiS about what's on our site at the moment but firstly, if you haven't already, become a fan of DiS on facebook and follow DiS on Twitter or for a full feed of the site on Twitter click this link
MUSE reveal "floating cube" stage show details http://drwndnsnd.com/~40yso
Ninety songs of The Noughties - DiS Editor's Picks (P2K Alternative) http://drwndnsnd.com/~148kCt + loads more Spotify playlists here
Off to Reading or Leeds Festival this weekend? Find all our preview coverage here
CLUES (featuring members of Arcade Fire and ex-Unicorns guys) get ready to tour, release free and exclusive mp3 http://drwndnsnd.com/~IQrRy
RADIOHEAD - Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief new editions assessed http://drwndnsnd.com/~13AkAn
V Festival In Photos: KATY PERRY & LILY ALLEN also In Photos
IDLEWILD set official release date for Post-Electric Blues, include two bonus tracks http://drwndnsnd.com/~L7e4p
Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
Mew - No More Stories...
Mos Def - The Ecstatic
The XX - XX
The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away
Thursday, 20 August 2009
When the coke-shrivelled testicles of Brit-pop were still in full-swing, Idlewild were dropping out of art school and ingesting Fugazi, Superchunk "...and all those small bands on American indie-rock labels." A few gigs, a few seven inch singles and then in 1998 they released their 'Captain' mini album via Steve Lamacq's Deceptive label (at the time home to Elastica) before signing to Food Records (then home to Blur). Then, when every new British band from Coldplay to Badly Drawn Boy trotted around with an acoustic guitar, they delivered their debut full-length of erratic punk rock, 'Hope Is Important'.
Yet, just when it seemed like their time to crossover, the yanks with their bloated Nu Metal and skinny-jeaned New York cool hijacked the agenda and Idlewild were lost at sea making melodic rock with Scottish accents. Then, when rock-with-regional accents (Arctic Monkeys, Lily, Nash, et al.) was all the rage, their front-man moved to New York and took time out to make traditional folk albums ('My Secret Is My Silence', 'Ballad of the Books' and 'Before the Ruin') - which maybe is but probably isn't quite as Great Jones Street as it sounds.
In the fourteen years since their inception, Idlewild may never have been the fashionable flash in the pan people wanted them to be but then, who wants to 'fit in' anyway? Unlike most modern bands they've been able to develop into the tamed beast that purrs like James Dean's Harley. They have toured and toured, found fans, picked up gold and silver sales discs, scored top 10 singles, released a Best Of and a B-Sides collection, not to mention finding themselves atop various year-end lists either of side of Atlantic, across Europe, in Japan and pretty much everywhere else in the known universe (approx). Meanwhile, front man, Roddy Woomble, moved from New York back to Glasgow then to the Scottish inner hebrides where he sits beside a coal scuttle writing newspaper columns, as well as a regular column for a hill-walking & backpacking magazine. It might not sound like a perfect storm but put it altogether and you have a great British rock band, in a very interesting place at a very perculiar time.
Now, whilst digital divas and earnest bearded American men in plaid shirts are running amok, Idlewild are releasing 'Post-Electric Blues' an indie-rock album of Boss-like bombast, flecked with 70s synths and dashes of brass. It's an album that leaps from Fleetwood Mac epic folk/rock/pop peaks into joyous Loch-side sing-a-longs. It's the sound of a deft and defiant band (completed by Rod Jones on guitar, backing vocals, keyboards; Colin Newton on drums, percussion; Allan Stewart on guitar and Gareth Russell on bass), exploring soundscapes whilst finding hooks and generally, genuinely and quite clearly, having a fookin good time.
"Album opener 'Younger than America' was the first track we wrote for the album," says Roddy. "The idea for the lyrics came from a spate watching Westerns - Simple stories of justice and courage set at the 'frontier'. It sounds the way it does because we're all big fans of Neil Young & Crazy horse. After we'd written the song I though the record might turn into a American sounding piece of classic rock, but It didn't turn out that way really, especially after writing 'Readers and Writers'. The record went in
whatever direction it chose to".
"I wanted to have a more off the cuff feel to the record, with the words especially," declares Roddy and there's a definite sense of anything goes which produces a volatile warmth to the record. It's a balmy heat that comes from a meeting of punk rock at a crossroads with folk. Don't get me wrong, this isn't some kinda mashed-up black-eyed beans and bratwurst genre-dump, it's just a rock record with a heart of strings, xylophones, hand-claps, trumpets, hammond organs and big nihilistic grins.
Rock, be it punk rock, folk-rock, stadium rock or indie-rock, certainly had an influence: "Rod is obsessed with... I mean, he really loves Bruce Springsteen! We all love bands like Wilco, Pavement and Pearl Jam - we loved touring with them (PJ), they're a great rock band. Some people think people think Pearl Jam are the uncoolest band in world, some people absolutely live by them, and they just do what they do, lots of bands say they do that but they're affected by things." Remind you of anyone? (A: See above)
Lyrically, the punk-rock sloganeering of their earlier work has become a mixture of poignant observational small-world imagery and universal ponder-neering. This isn't all textural wilderness-gazing or woe is me Morrissey-like rambling. There are a few wry lyrics because "sometimes you need some daft lines in there," explains Roddy, "I don't that think it's possible to have a rock song where every line is perfect, I don't think that's the point of rock music."
He continues: "The album title is not entirely serious and befits the whole record which has a playfulness to it. I suppose I'm trying to imagine a new genre for this post-modern world". So it's not a reference to Dylan plugging in a electric guitar at Newport Folk Festival then? "No, I didn't think about that, although everyone says I listen to too much Dylan and old Jazz. I guess it has a sort of Dylan quality to it but it's moreso because Post-Digital Blues didn't feel right."
Shortly after the release of 2007's 'Make Another World', the Sanctuary Group went into administration and Idlewild became an unsigned band. Instead of chasing a deal, the band took a leap of faith and asked their fans to pre-order the album. "We got the budget for the record down to a bare minimum" explains Roddy. "We knew we could make a record if only a thousand people pre-ordered it, but we had no idea how it'd go. Our last record 'Make Another World' sold about 40,000 copies, even though the record label effectively [Sanctuary] closed down just after it was released." The result of the experiment was a triumph, with over 3000 of their web-savvy tribe embracing the 2.0 record funding model.
Whilst they waited for the record to be written and recorded, members of their fanclub-like online community saw and heard work-in-progress snippets of 'Post-Electric Blues': "The fans of the band were part of this album and were entitled to see the songs being written and to feel a part of them," beams Roddy. "They paid for them to be recorded after all. In today's musical world when everything has to be available and instant and people get bored quickly (far too quickly in my opinion) this album was our attempt to get with the times. I suppose the album title reflects this. We all really like and appreciate the fact the fans paid for us to make this album and that all their names are inside of it."
Written in Scotland and recorded in Wales (and Scotland). Clearly, this was an album made to play live, as Roddy explains: "Most bands now make their living through concerts, and we're no exception, so records have to be tailored that way. With 'The Remote Part and 'Warnings...' we were writing songs that would sound good on the radio (and live, but the radio was more important - so we were told). There are a million new bands on the radio waves, or digital waves, now so it's more important to us how we will sound good through a PA system in a club and that we can play and sing it all!" Although, he concedes: "That said, it'd be lovely to have a hit."
Bringing things full circle, Roddy concludes: "I guess we've never really fitted into anything. When we got our punk rock guitars out everyone was talking about acoustic guitars and vice-versa. The nearly men, the underdogs, never as big as they should have been, these things come up all the time but..." he takes a pause to sip some tea "... I don't really know what the rush is. I really love bands with long careers. I feel like we've only just started and I'm hoping we've got another 20 good years left in us
For more information, please contact JOOLZ at COOKING VINYL:
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
So Pitchfork are doing their P2K run-down of the songs of the decade. I've been slowly putting together DiS' coverage in the background. I'm still deliberating on what the acts/songs/bands of the decade are (I wanna do a definitive editorial list, lots of discussion sparking lists and the ultimate reader census, with all sorts of bells and whistles).
Anyway, in the meantime, here's my 90-songs-so-far Spotify "mixtape" of my favourite songs of The Noughties (not in any order other than listenable coherence). What have I forgotten and what's on your premature end-of-decade digital mixtape? I might add 10 requests and run this on Friday on DiS as a Spotifriday playlist.
Electrelane – Film Music
Arctic Monkeys – 505
Six by Seven – I.O.U. Love
The Postal Service – We Will Become Silhouettes
The Radio Dept. – 1995
The Stills – Still in Love Song
The Shins – Sleeping Lessons
Friendly Fires – Paris
Blonde Redhead – The Dress
PJ Harvey – A Place Called Home
M83 – Don't Save Us From the Flames
TV on the Radio – Staring at the Sun
The Cooper Temple Clause – Let's Kill Music
LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge
Peaches – Fuck The Pain Away
The Kills – No Wow
Justice – Phantom
Crystal Castles – Vanished
The Knife – Heartbeats
Phoenix – Too Young
Tarwater – Stone
Cut Copy – Out There on the Ice
The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers
Hot Hot Heat – Talk to Me, Dance With Me
Les Savy Fav – The Sweat Descends
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Y Control
Liars – Mr Your On Fire Mr
Death From Above 1979 – Romantic Rights
These New Puritans – Swords of Truth
No Age – Everybody's Down
Interpol – PDA
Idlewild – Listen to What You've Got
The Walkmen – The Rat
At the Drive-In – One Armed Scissor
Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For?
OutKast – Hey Ya!
The Streets – Let's Push Thing's Forward
Justin Timberlake – Cry Me a River
The Faint – Paranoiattack
Panic! At the Disco – I Write Sins Not Tragedies
Paramore – Crushcrushcrush
Destiny's Child – Independent Women, Part 1
Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
Feist – I Feel It All
Girls Aloud – Je Ne Parle Pas Francais
Youthmovies – The Naughtiest Girl Is a Monitor
Battles – Atlas
Foals – Balloons
Radiohead – Idioteque
Regina Spektor – Us
Kate Nash – Nicest Thing
The Cribs – Be Safe
Bloc Party – The Pioneers
Pretty Girls Make Graves – This Is Our Emergency
Sonic Youth – Incinerate
Midlake – Roscoe
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – We Call Upon the Author
Manic Street Preachers – Jackie Collins Existential Question Time
Muse – Supermassive Black Hole
Deftones – Digital Bath
Biffy Clyro – 57
Rival Schools – Used for Glue
Queens Of The Stone Age – Lightning Song
Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart
The Maccabees – No Kind Words - Single Version
Sufjan Stevens – Come On Feel The Illinoise!
Björk – It's Not Up to You
The National – Squalor Victoria
Beirut – Postcards From Italy
Andrew Bird – Plasticities
Jeniferever – From Across the Sea
Explosions In The Sky – Magic Hours
Sigur Rós – Starálfur
Four Tet – She Moves She
Panda Bear – Bro's
Bright Eyes – Poison Oak
Broken Social Scene – Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl
Elbow – Grace Under Pressure
The Veils – The Tide That Left and Never Came Back
Frightened Rabbit – I Feel Better
Modest Mouse – Float On
The Dandy Warhols – Get Off
Franz Ferdinand – Darts of Pleasure
Metric – Monster Hospital
Nine Inch Nails – The Hand That Feeds (DFA mix)
Beck – Lost Cause
Grizzly Bear – On a Neck, On a Spit
Jamie T – If You Got the Money
Cat Power – Free
Les Incompétents – Escapades
Listen to the Seanin00s playlist by clicking here (note: you'll need the Spotify software and it's not yet available in all countries)
Friday, 7 August 2009
The above cover, posted today on Anti- Records' blog, is just one of a trillion reasons why Elliott's unique talent, silken voice and his own joyous melancholy-cum-music means/meant so much to me. Few musicians have reached, touched and tickled these parts of my emotions. Few other musicians come close. At first it was because his music felt cat-like, it was aloof and didn't seem to care if you were listening to the outpouring but the more I listened, the more I paid attention and the more it pummelled its way somewhere deep.
His honesty empathized with millions (sounds big but he hit with Grammy nominations etc just as p2p hit, so not a crazy assertion) and, for me at least, he made nearly all other music seem insipid and banal. He set the bar so high, whilst making it all sound incredibly simple but having asked questions to those who knew and met him, as well as read a lot about him since his death, it was far from easy for this humble life-broken soul to wrestle these soul-crushingly intense yet seemingly near feather-light feelings into balls of melodious wonder. Drugs and/or booze helped and hindered, in equal measure.
I love the way his records feature some of the most epic orchestral walls of sound to the slightest acoustic fireside songs and the fact that both embossed themselves upon my life with a similarly powerful impact is testament to his song-writing and his obsession with the emotional impact and texture of sound. His music could be the softest snowflake or the most dizzying Disney explosion but his genius is how it goes far beyond some instruments and vocals.
Essentially, his scuffed and ornate music nuzzles you and deep down you discover it's hungry for your love and reciprocates, in kind - just like a cat.
This is my Best of.../Introduction to Elliott Smith playlist
Elliott Smith – Bye
Elliott Smith – Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
Elliott Smith – Everything Means Nothing to Me
Elliott Smith – Thirteen
Elliott Smith – Ballad of Big Nothing
Elliott Smith – Between the Bars
Elliott Smith – St. Ides Heaven
Elliott Smith – A Fond Farewell
Elliott Smith – Angeles
Elliott Smith – Shooting Star
Elliott Smith – Baby Britain
Elliott Smith – LA
Elliott Smith – Needle in the Hay
Elliott Smith – Last Call
Listen to it on Spotify here.
Rest in Peace Mr Smith.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Before DiS embarks on a review of the Noughties, I've been taking my own personal voyage back to the 90s in an attempt to set a watermark for what the 00s need to live upto (especially as I don't want our list of the decade to be some indier than thou misrepresentation , although it will obvs feature Postal Service).
Anyway, if I made you a mixtape in the 90s or you heard me playing records at a club called Verdis in Weymouth (Dorset), you probably would have heard some of these tracks.
- Tom Waits – House Where Nobody Lives
- PJ Harvey – C'mon Billy
- Manic Street Preachers – Faster
- Ash – Kung Fu
- NOFX – Monosyllabic Girl
- Refused – New Noise
- Blur – Star Shaped
- Idlewild – A Film for the Future
- Deftones – Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
- Nine Inch Nails – We're in This Together
- The London Community Gospel Choir – I Think I'm in Love
- At the Drive-In – Napoleon Solo
- Arab Strap – Cherubs
- Sigur Rós – Starálfur
- Björk – Violently Happy
- Le Tigre – Hot Topic
- Prince & The New Power Generation (with Eric Leeds on Flute) – Gett Off
- Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus
- Daft Punk – Burnin'
- The Dandy Warhols – Boys Better
- Primal Scream – Kill All Hippies
- Pitchshifter – Genius
- Jurassic 5 – Concrete Schoolyard
- Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand
- Marilyn Manson – Rock Is Dead
- Seafood – Psychic Rainy Nights
- Weezer – Pink Triangle
- No Doubt – End It on This
- blink-182 – Dammit
- Green Day – Welcome To Paradise
- ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – A Perfect Teenhood
- Sonic Youth – Drunken Butterfly
- Rage Against The Machine – Wake Up
- Muse – Showbiz
- Nirvana – Heart-Shaped Box
- Cat Power – Metal Heart
- dEUS – Little Arithmetics
- Beck – Loser
- Mansun – Special/Blown It (Delete as Appropriate)
- UNKLE – Lonely Soul
- The Magnetic Fields – The Book of Love
- The Verve – Life's an Ocean
- Pulp – Sylvia
- Elliott Smith – Between the Bars
- Nick Cave & Kylie - Where The Wild Roses Grow
- Sparklehorse – Homecoming Queen
- The Charlatans – Just Lookin'
- Longpigs – Lost Myself
- Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye
- The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight
- Beck – Nobody's Fault But My Own
- Incubus – Drive
- The Roots – You Got Me (feat. Erykah Badu)
- Belle and Sebastian – She's Losing It
- Eve 6 – Inside Out
- Third Eye Blind – Semi-Charmed Life
- Sublime – Doin' Time
- Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
- Roots Manuva – Movements
- Mogwai – Mogwai Fear Satan
- Limp Bizkit – Faith
- Slipknot – Wait And Bleed
- Weird Al Yankovic – Smells Like Nirvana
- Reef - Replenish
Add your 90s playlists below. Or Tweet them tagged #spotifriday @drownedinsound
Also play the Nineties vs Noughties Spotify game on the DiS boards here.
If there are still labels it'll be the same as it ever was with them acting as a bank to advance(/invest) money to cash flow musicians but taking a share of various revenue streams that they don't add anything to. It'd be interesting if any of the promoters buy any of the labels, and start to invest in acts touring but I'm not sure the oil tanker that is the music biz can turn quite that quick.
Sunday, 2 August 2009
DrownedinSound.com has announced the 12 Neptune Music Prize nominees for the 2009 alternative Mercury Music Prize, following the success of last year's Pluto prize. Find out who's nominated, why we changed the name, hear the albums and cast your vote here: http://drownedinsound.com/
Also on DiS...
- Pearl Jam album art puzzle
- The Get Up Kids apologise for inventing emo
- St Vincent talks to DiS
- Gary Numan interviews John Foxx (Ultravox)
- plus lots more
Until next time,
p.s. listen to all 12 Neptune nominated albums here http://drownedinsound.com/