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Album Review: Groove Armada – White Light

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd November 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

A couple months ago, Groove Armada made the announcement that they would never tour again. While this prospect is pretty upsetting, especially to someone like me who has never seen them live, as they only ever seemed to play in the major music markets (New York and Los Angeles), it made me wonder what Andy Cato and Tom Findlay would be doing in their free time. ‘White Light’, released last month, may be one answer to this question – spending more time in the studio, plugging away at new and exciting material. I’d like to believe this means many Groove Armada releases in the future. Oh, to be a fly on the wall…

While it seems ridiculously redundant for a electronic dance outfit to put out an album of remixes (more beats! more synths!), in Groove Armada’s case, they can completely forgiven with respect to what ‘White Light’ is and represents. ‘Black Light’, its predecessor, was released in early 2010 and featured some amazing collaborations, like ‘Shameless’ featuring the legendary Bryan Ferry, ‘History’ featuring Will Young and ‘Paper Romance’ featuring SaintSaviour and Fenech-Soler. ‘White Light’, touted as an album of remixes and reinterpretations, is not so much a repeat of ‘Black Light’ jumped up on E or acid but instead a nice counterpoint, a disc two if you will.

The new album includes a brand new track, ‘1980’. I guess Cato and Findlay, like Ash in their ‘A-Z’ series, think 1980 was a pretty good year to be immortalised in song. Nice song to get your body grooving. Interestingly, there are two versions of ‘History’ on here, one called just plain ‘History’, and then you’ve got the ‘Love remix’. The latter is smoother, likely to make you slink around the house listening to it on your high quality speakers (unless of course, you’re at your favourite dance place and you’ve slipped a copy of it to your friend, the DJ).

What I really like with what they’ve done with ‘White Light’ is that they haven’t gone the usual route for remix albums: tacking on needlessly long and repetitive instrumental intros or outros that are fine when you are buzzed but you quickly get bored of when you’re in daylight. More likely, they had been knocking about with alternatives to the ‘Black Light’ versions and said, what the heck, we like these a lot too, let’s release them!

Case in point: they’ve managed to take the radio-friendly ‘Paper Romance’, my favourite off ‘Black Light’, and make it even better. As the pre-chorus builds with “I feel your heat / I never wanna let you go”, then the track shoots straight into the stratosphere, with the anthemic words, “yeah, you can write me a love letter / but there’s nothing to say / don’t wanna take a chance on your paper romance anyway”. You can just imagine club-goers, hands in the air, going mental over this track and its mad beats as multi-coloured lights flash in gaiety. I don’t think you need ‘Black Light’ to appreciate ‘White Light’, but I’d argue this is the better one to start with if you don’t have its ‘earlier incarnation’. For a taste, watch/listen to the taster video below.

8/10

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‘White Light’ is available now from now from Cooking Vinyl.

 

Bands to Watch #200: The Coronas

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd November 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

I was nosing around an Irish indie music blog and happened upon an interesting new find. To me anyway. The Coronas are probably the biggest indie band in Ireland that you haven’t heard of yet. I’d never heard of them, but after I listened to their heartbreakingly beautiful track ‘Someone Else’s Hands’, I wish I had heard about them much sooner. Just last week they played their first big gig on this side of the pond – in the wine country of Napa Valley – someone over here in America must already be stumping for them. So I’m convinced it’s only time before they break outside of Eire.

The Terenure, Dublin band already have two studio albums already under their belt – 2007’s ‘Heroes or Ghosts’ and 2009’s ‘Tony Was an Ex-Con’. When the second album was released in late September 2009, it hit #1 on the iTunes Irish albums chart upon its release. In 2010 they beat out countrymen heavyweights U2 and Snow Patrol for the Meteor (Irish version of the BRIT Award) in the category of Best Album. With piano-based songs like ‘Someone Else’s Hands’, I’m thinking Keane and Coldplay. Could superstardom just be around the corner? I think it’s a distinct possibility.

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NME Awards Shows / February 2011

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd November 2010 at 9:30 am
 

This year, the NME Awards will take place 23 February 2011 at 02 Academy Brixton. In the lead up to the awards show, NME puts on live performances in London’s best gigging venues during the month of February. And yesterday, the music magazine announced the line-ups for the February 2011 shows. Tickets for these shows go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday, 24 November, at 9 AM.

Tuesday 1st February 2011 – Metronomy at London Heaven
Wednesday 2nd February 2011 – Los Campesinos! and Summer Camp at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Thursday 3rd February 2011 – The Duke Spirit at London Heaven
Wednesday 9th February 2011 – Mystery Jets (pictured above) at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Friday 11th February 2011 – White Lies and Crocodiles at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Tuesday 15th February 2011 – The Naked and Famous at London Heaven
Tuesday 15th February 2011 – Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan and Cherry Ghost at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Wednesday 16th February 2011 – Edwyn Collins at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Thursday 17th February 2011 – Miles Kane at London Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Thursday 17th February 2011 – Noah and the Whale at London Koko
Friday 18th February 2011 – Yuck and Cults at London Bush Hall
Sunday 20th February 2011 – Carl Barat, the Heartbreaks and Foreign Office at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Monday 21st February 2011 – Alex Winston at London New Players Theatre
Monday 21st February 2011 – Mona and Neon Trees at London Garage
Monday 21st February 2011 – Warpaint and Twin Shadow at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Monday 21st February 2011 – Frankie and the Heartstrings and Veronica Falls at London Heaven
Tuesday 22nd February 2011 – Caribou, Factory Floor and Walls at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Tuesday 22nd February 2011 – Les Savy Fav at London Heaven

 

Blink-182 / July 2011 English Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd November 2010 at 9:00 am
 

Following on from last year’s reformation, Blink-182 will be playing five arena shows in England in July 2011. Tickets go on sale this Friday, 26 November, at 9 AM, through this link.

Friday 8th July 2011 – Manchester MEN Arena
Tuesday 12th July 2011 – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
Wednesday 13th July 2011 – Nottingham Trent Arena
Friday 15th July 2011 – Birmingham LG Arena
Monday 18th July 2011 – London O2 Arena

 

Video of the Moment #346: Bernard Sumner, Hot Chip and Hot City

 
By on Monday, 22nd November 2010 at 6:00 pm
 

Who doesn’t love Bernard Sumner of Joy Division, New Order and now Bad Lieutenant fame? And he just got 1000x hipper in this collaboration with London’s Hot Chip (pictured above) and Brooklyn’s Hot City. Called ‘Didn’t Know What Love Was’, it’s being used for a Converse (trainers) advert. The video is strange to say the least, you won’t soon forget it. (It was giving me motion sickness!)

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Interview: Ketil Kinden Endresen of Casiokids

 
By on Monday, 22nd November 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Electronic band Casiokids of Bergen, Norway played an amazing, amazing show at Washington’s DC9 on 1st October. After getting blown away by their performance at home and on the second day of Roskilde this year, I definitely had some questions for the guys, and Ketil Kinden Endresen of the band was kind enough to answer them for me. He tells me about their recent trip over here to America and what Roskilde means to him.

You recently finished your stay in this great land of ours (America) and are now back in Norway. How did you like this tour? What do you think made it different than when you play shows in Scandinavia, Europe, etc.?
The tour we recently did in the U.S. was fun. This time around we also found time to do some sightseeing, both in San Francisco (Alcatraz) and Washington. Ive always enjoyed our trips in America (the Great Land), ever since our first tour there in 2008, and we now have a gang of friends in many of the cities we visit, which increase the fun within the funliness. How is it different? Its longer distances to travel and the portions are bigger.

I am so glad you rescheduled your cancelled Washington D.C. date. How did you find the Washington crowd? Really liked the pineapple maraca. It was great to watch so many people reacting so positively to your music.
We were amazed by the Washington crowd. It was our first show there with Casiokids and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, footloose and fancy free.

I talked to Fredrik after the show, he said you were going to try to get some sightseeing in Washington in the day after. How’d it go? (Besides the creepy National Museum of American History robot. I am embarrassed to say that in all my years living here, I don’t remember seeing this!)
We did some sightseeing, indeed, at the National Museum of American History (where we met the robot, as you rightly remember). Also we went to the Natural History Museum, where we met this guy:

Continue reading Interview: Ketil Kinden Endresen of Casiokids

 
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