By Mary Chang on Monday, 10th June 2013 at 10:00 am
Coming off a triumphant appearance at Rockness this past week, Fenech-Soler now wants you to have this Sane Beats remix of their single ‘Magnetic’ for absolutely free. Have a listen in the Soundcloud widget below and if you like it, it’s all yours.
It’s only available until Friday (and I’m not sure when on Friday it will be removed), so if you want it, grab it now!
By Mary Chang on Sunday, 9th June 2013 at 10:00 am
There’s a lot being made about the, err, unusual use of a saxophone in the new Vampire Weekend video for ‘Diane Young’. If you have no idea what we’re going on about, then you’ll just have to watch the video below. Also, is the balaclava-clad man a homage to Pussy Riot? No idea.
Read guest reviewer Jordy Fujiwara’s impressions of ‘Diane Young’ and ‘Step’ here.
By Mary Chang on Saturday, 8th June 2013 at 10:00 am
In the shadow of Daft Punk’s return, some people seem to forget there are other dance bands, and specifically bands that have better songs than that noisome ‘Get Lucky’. Take, for example, !!! ‘One Girl / One Boy’, from their current album ‘Thr!!!er’, which is funky and sexy. And its writers didn’t feel the need to hit out at their entire genre. Watch it below.
When you’re a fan of a band – any band – I think there’s certain expectations you have when you go see that said band live. Even if you prayed for days on end, there are certain songs that you just know will never show up in a set list. Despite my greatest wish to see ‘Stars’, ‘The Crookes Laundry Murder 1922′ and ‘I Remember Moonlight’ played live by the Crookes, I always have assumed I’ll never see them live. The time has passed; two out of three of those are of the 2011 ‘Chasing After Ghosts’ / Alex Saunders era and therefore unlikely to be pulled out for public consumption again.
I had a similar resignation when it came to ‘The I Love You Bridge’, the last track on ‘Hold Fast’; it’s so different from the rest of the album in tempo and raucousness, and admittedly, it can be a bit of a downer, depending on the way you look at the words, so I just never expected it to pop up in a Crookes live set list. However, at last month’s Fierce Panda 19th Birthday Slamdown in the deft hands – literally – of singer George Waite performing this song, written about the iconic Sheffield landmark, with a guitar. All alone onstage and under a single spotlight, his performance was, in a word, breathtaking. As a singer, I get chills just thinking about it. “It’s a magic trick / an escape from this…who cares she told him no / it’s the gesture, don’t you know? / we’ll cling on and we won’t let go”: if you ever needed hope, this is the song to give it to you in spades.
The other video I have for you is for ‘Honey’, which is probably best known to Crookes fans as the b-side to ‘Afterglow’, the first single to be released from ‘Hold Fast’. In stark contrast, it’s a hard rocking number, as you will see from the energetic performance below, but it has equally thought-provoking lines: “I want to die with sunshine on my face…I’d rip out my pages to be someone else.” Likewise with ‘The I Love You Bridge’, I wasn’t expecting to hear this in London and I just keep thinking, what a wonderful treat they gave us fans. Watch both videos below – enjoy!
By Tom Mughal on Friday, 7th June 2013 at 12:00 pm
I’m a huge fan of Belle and Sebastian. And as a huge fan of Belle and Sebastian, I feel like I have to come clean and admit that I have been cheating on them with another Glaswegian indie-pop group who also thrive on their quaintness (quaintosity?); a band more twee than Zooey Deschanel walking a clowder of cats around the garden of her thatched cottage.
It all started in 2010 when I was eagerly awaiting Stuart Murdoch and co.’s eighth album, ‘Write About Love’. Whilst impatiently trying to find something to fill the gap whilst I awaited its release, I found Camera Obscura (or rather, Spotify Radio found them for me). Their latest release at the time, ‘My Maudlin Career’, had dropped the previous year to almost universal acclaim and I decided to see what the fuss was about. I quickly found out. With gorgeous instrumentals and precious vocals, Camera Obscura are without a doubt the closest thing there is to a female counterpart to Belle and Sebastian.
Camera Obscura are a relatively unknown band with a few relatively recognisable songs in their repertoire. ‘French Navy’, arguable one of their best tracks, has been doing the rounds on British television adverts for the past couple of years, which has done great things for their exposure.
Now three years on from my first encounter with them, ‘Desire Lines’ is to be released: the band’s fifth studio album, their first of which to have been recorded in the United States. The album continues the band’s exploration of wistful themes and again brings memories of the long summers days spent doing absolutely nothing in the sun. It’s quintessentially Camera Obscura down to a tee, something that could be its own downfall for some listeners. In other words, the band have not evolved at all since their previous effort 4 years ago. Belle and Sebastian have managed to remain fresh since their first album nearly 20 years ago, something that Camera Obscura have failed to replicate with ‘Desire Lines’. With the exception of a couple of tracks, the album throws the usual catchy, summer pop tunes at you in abundance.
One of the standout tracks on the LP has to be ‘Cri de Coeur’, which my GCSE in French can tell you is roughly translated as ‘Cry of the Heart.’ Down tempo and sentimental, lead singer Tracyanne Campbell truly sings a tale from the ‘coeur’. It’s a welcome turn away from the usual upbeat pop songs that dominate Camera Obscura albums and the hypnotic percussion makes the song almost like a lullaby. (Note to self – business idea: Have Camera Obscura release an album of children’s lullabies. That would sell.)
On the subject of vocals, it would be hard to review ‘Desire Lines’ without paying great compliment to Tracyanne Campbell’s sweet pipes. They carry a sentimental and wistful tone that is without a doubt Deschanel-esque, (even if the band were around even before the world caught Zooey Fever). In fact, the entire album could have been a She and Him album without the Him. Coincidentally, the bands will be touring together for a string of dates this year in the United States.
Campbell’s crooning takes a back seat on ‘New Year’s Resolution’, instead the lead guitar riff takes the centre stage and it works perfectly. Playing almost like a duet between the guitar and vocals, it is a refreshing change to hear the rest of the band take the limelight. Although a great song, the smooth Fleetwood Mac-like track transitions awkwardly into the next song ‘Do It Again’. Any soothing feeling caused by the former tune quickly evaporates and you are once again taken to the usual happy-go-lucky pop song that we expect from the band.
Overall, the Glaswegians-that-aren’t-Belle-and-Sebastian have released a great summer album. While it’s an album that won’t break boundaries in the indie-pop game (and doesn’t even break boundaries for Campbell and co.), it is nonetheless a great listen.
Camera Obscura’s ‘Desire Lines’ is out now on 4AD.