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By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 18th December 2012 at 12:00 pm
2013 is shaping up to be a massive year not just for newer bands but also those that we have come to love on the strength of their debut albums. One such band is Everything Everything, who have already made available publicly their single ‘Cough Cough’, even though the actual release of the single doesn’t happen until the 14th of January. If they wanted to keep people’s anticipation up, they could have let this be the only thing from their new album ‘Arc’ to see the light of day until January. But no. They’re nice guys. They’d not do that to us. Instead, ladies and gentlemen, they’ve released both the audio and video for ‘Kemosabe’, and I will dissect for you now everything that is good – and indeed, amazing – about this new song.
For those of us who used to (and maybe still) watch ‘old’ television reruns, the word ‘Kemosabe’ has become synonymous with Tonto, the Native American sidekick and faithful friend of the Long Ranger. So initially, I’m thinking, okay, Everything Everything has written a song about the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger? What does that have to do with anything? However, as is the case with so many of the band’s songs, the lyrics are confusing and come at you like rapid fire, but with an oh so catchy rhythm. Going off of the combative nature of ‘Cough Cough’, I’d venture a guess that ‘Kemosabe’ is not trying to rekindle nostalgia for a beloved ’60s tv show but rather use the memory of this show and its relative innocence as stark contrast to the wars being waged in the 21st century.
The song begins with the words “four walls and a cauldron of Kalashnikovs” (assault rifles), and you’re eventually led to “the border” where the protagonist is struggling with an internal battle, until the sobering lines, “but does it feel like you’re already dead? / and do you feel like your brain stopped delivering? / yeah, break my finger, shoot out my black eyes / what does it matter if everyone dies?” This sounds like the thinking of someone who’s already been through a war and is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I have the impression that people in the military have to undergo a certain level of brainwashing in order to truly believe in and carry out the missions they do. How else can you justify the killing of another human being?
The chorus in ‘Kemosabe’ sound happy but they’re far from it…right? Someone is calling his faithful friend and telling him he’s alone. But what has happened? Has he done what he thought was “right” and killed all of the enemy? The Lone Ranger’s memory gets called in a couple times, for a few errant “hi-o Silver, away!” moments, but I don’t think that’s what you’re supposed to be focusing on as the listener. Senseless killing and senseless death, two topics that are especially hard to swallow or even begin to talk about in wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre last week in Connecticut, aren’t exactly usual pop topics, yet the Manchester-based foursome are yet challenging convention. Even the video, which shows the band performing in a leafy forest, is kind of odd too: there’s one man doing physical stunts on the forest floor. Alone.
What has always impressed me about Everything Everything is how tight their songs sound; it’s like the four of them have become one body, and subconsciously each band member can react to and/or compensate for another. I didn’t think this was possible live, but I was proven wrong last year when they were forced to go acoustic. In ‘Kemosabe’, with all its background shouts, percussive elements and thudding bass, we’re being shown again how smooth a machine Everything Everything is. It honestly sounds like something from another world in its cleanness, and each time you listen, there is something else you discover that makes it all the more unique.
When a song follows you around – and I mean everywhere: the grocery store, the shower, even when you’re in bed, desperately trying to get some shut eye – and every time you think about it, you get a smile on your face, you know you have stumbled onto something good. I don’t expect ‘Arc’ to ape ‘Man Alive’ in any way, and of course I have no idea if they’ve gone and bettered the debut album. At the same time though, I’m not worried at all. These guys have got it in the bag. This single is for those who like to think…and for those who’d rather not think, it’s got a funky as hell rhythm that will remain an earworm for months to come.
‘Kemosabe’, the second single from Everything Everything’s forthcoming album ‘Arc’, will be released on the 14th of January 2013 on RCA Victor. A little confusingly, the release of ‘Arc’, the hotly anticipated follow-up to the 2010 Mercury Prize-nominated ‘Man Alive’, will be released on the same exact day. The band are on tour in the UK in February. Watch the video for and listen to the Com Truise remix of the single below.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 18th December 2012 at 11:00 am
Wowsers, has this year flown by or what? I can scarcely believe we’re ready to celebrate Christmas in a week’s time, but you know what that means, boys and girls. It’s time for the editor’s top picks of 2012. Unlike most lists that have already published either in print or online, there will be no mentions of Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar or DIIV. Sorry. No, and this year, I tried to get away from dance as I could, which seems really odd considering where I found myself 2 years ago; this is probably good commentary on the music scene at large, where beats – either urban or poppy – have invaded nearly every facet of radio and except for the odd album or two, I found these to be completely devoid of heart. Or character. (But there were 3 in my top 10 that were arguably dance albums, so maybe there’s still hope…) Without further delay, here are my picks for 2012.
1. The Crookes – ‘Hold Fast’ (Fierce Panda) – In the shadow of love – in its electric (2010’s #1, Delphic’s ‘Acolyte’) and nostalgic, life affirming (2011’s #1, Noah and the Whale’s ‘Last Night on Earth’) forms – my #1 this year goes as far back to basics with the good ol’ pop-tinged rock ‘n’ roll of Sheffield’s Crookes. I’ve always thought that the smartest songwriters are those that can write catchy tunes while also offering up thought-provoking, intelligent lyric; guitarist Daniel Hopewell fits this description to a T.
This album would feel equally at home in the 1960s as it does in 2012. There is no studio trickery or fancy production here, just heartfelt (and heartbroken in ‘Maybe in the Dark’) feelings being sung to memorable melodies that can help to remind you of simpler times. Or simply remind you of the important people who have coloured your life. Do yourself a favour and get this album. If you’re not sold yet, read my review of ‘Hold Fast’ here.
2. Keston Cobblers’ Club – ‘One, for Words’ (Beatnik Geek) – It has been shown to us time and time again that family members who sing together make some incredible music. (For one, the Beach Boys.) In Julia and Matthew Lowe, we have familial alchemy at work again, this time on some incredible folk pop. When one album can make you laugh, make you cry, make you wistful for a former lover, make you remember through happy tears your life experiences, that is truly special indeed, and that’s what I’ve gotten out of ‘One, for Words’. I expect to be playing this album again and again until my final days. You can read my review of their debut album here.
3. Grimes – ‘Visions’ (4AD) – Claire Boucher is now one of the hottest commodities in the music business these days, and surely the biggest game changer from Canada since Arcade Fire. Every time I tried to catch the baby-voiced master of synths and sequencers in 2012, I never actually managed to get in. Thankfully though, I have this album to keep me company whenever things have gone boring in my life. Variety is the key word of this album, with ambient, industrial, pop and minimalist genres all touched on for one eclectic group of songs. Every time you pick up this album, you’ll hear something exciting you missed the last time around, and I don’t think it’s possible for ‘Visions’ to get old. Read my review here.
4. Casiokids – ‘Aabenbaringen over aaskammen’ (Moshi Moshi) – There’s no way I could have forgotten the craziness of Casiokids’ third album. Even in the middle of winter, thoughts of a pineapple-shaped maraca, the sheer wonkiness of ‘Det Haster!’ and ‘Dresinen’, and disco and jungle beats working in harmony on the same album easily warmed my heart. This is controlled chaos, in a way that only Nordics manage to do it. And even if you go into this album thinking, “no way is this album going to lift my mood”, trust me, it will. You’ll even leave it with a knowing yet silly grin on your face.Read more here.
5. Husky – ‘Forever So’ (Sub Pop) – The Husky debut album was an example of when you keep hearing the name of a band so many times, you’re wondering what the fuss is all about. Well, wonder no more. If you’re the first-ever signing to a indie label as storied as Sub Pop, then you better bring the goods, and Husky Gawenda and co. do just that in a Fleet Foxes meets the sadness of Nick Drake vehicle. If you’ve ever been slayed by gorgeous harmonies, this album’s for you. Read my review of it here.
After the cut: some albums that just missed the top 5 cut, and others that disappointed.
Continue reading Top Albums of 2012: Editor’s Picks
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 18th December 2012 at 10:00 am
Last Christmas, Tellison released a charity holiday single, ‘Good Luck It’s Christmas’. For this year, we’ve been notified that the song has been given post dubstep and synth flavours by London producer Grigori, so if you’re in the mood for something a little different, listen to and download the remix below.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 18th December 2012 at 9:00 am
Our friends I Dream in Colour have made available a special holiday song for purchase on their Bandcamp.
It’s called ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let It Go To Waste)’, and as described by lead singer Richard Judge in a blog post here, they chose UK homelessness charity Crisis as the recipient of the song’s profits. Listen to the track below and if you like it, purchase it and support one of the most vulnerable populations this holiday season.
Christmas Time (Don’t Let It Go To Waste) by I Dream In Colour
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 18th December 2012 at 8:30 am
German ‘classical meets techno’ trio Brandt Brauer Frick have announced just three live dates in the UK for next March. Their new album ‘Miami’ will be released the following week on !k7 Records; watch the teaser for the new release below.
Sunday 10th March 2013 – Glasgow Cottiers
Monday 11th March 2013 – Manchester Islington Mill
Tuesday 12th March 2013 – London XOYO
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 18th December 2012 at 8:00 am
The Courteeners have announced a sizable tour for early next year. Tickets are on sale now. After the list of tour dates, you can watch the new Reading Festival video for ‘Lose Control’, the first single from their new album ‘Anna’, to be released in February.
Thursday 21st February 2013 – Nottingham Rock City
Friday 22nd February 2013 – Leeds Academy
Saturday 23rd February 2013 – Birmingham Academy
Monday 25th February 2013 – Liverpool Academy
Tuesday 26th February 2013 – Dundee Fat Sams
Thursday 28th February 2013 – Inverness Ironworks
Friday 1st March 2013 – Glasgow Academy
Saturday 2nd March 2013 – Edinburgh Picture House
Monday 4th March 2013 – Portsmouth Pyramids Centre
Tuesday 5th March 2013 – Cambridge Junction
Thursday 7th March 2013 – Bristol Academy
Friday 8th March 2013 – Blackpool Empress Ballroom
Saturday 9th March 2013 – Oxford Academy
Monday 11th March 2013 – Leicester Academy
Tuesday 12th March 2013 – Cardiff University Solus
Thursday 14th March 2013 – Newcastle Academy
Friday 15th March 2013 – Sheffield Academy
Saturday 16th March 2013 – London Brixton Academy