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Live Gig Video: The Last Shadow Puppets’ rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Is This What You Wanted’ from upcoming covers EP

 
By on Wednesday, 19th October 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

The Alex Turner we knew from Arctic Monkeys now appears to be an entirely different person than the one we’ve come to know in The Last Shadow Puppets. Fair enough that in the latter, he’s joined by his now practically joined at the hip buddy Miles Kane, a solo musician in his own right, so they’re entirely different projects. I guess what I’m saying is that I never expected Turner’s transformation into a 21st century Elvis, which is how he comes across in the latest Last Shadow Puppets video. Following the release of original music album ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’ this spring (reviewed here by Rebecca), they’re now gearing up to release an EP of covers.

‘The Dream Synopsis’, scheduled to drop on the 2nd of December – just in time for Christmas shopping, folks! – and will include covers of songs from The Fall and Jacques Dutronc, among others. A tune by one particularly beloved performer is also covered on the new release, Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, who recently told The New Yorker “I am ready to die”. Right, then. So it seems even more poignant now that the pair chose to put their stamp on Cohen’s ‘Is This What You Wanted’. Do they do the man justice? Watch Turner gyrating and emoting on a stage with Kane adding some unnecessary guitar flourishes (in my opinion, anyway) to the song in the video below. For more on TGTF”s coverage of The Last Shadow Puppets, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8LtrwbEUow[/youtube]

 

Album Review: The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come to Expect

 
By on Friday, 22nd April 2016 at 3:30 pm
 

Back in 2008, people were still using the iPhone 3, and Barack Obama wasn’t even the President of the United States yet. It was April of that year when The Last Shadow Puppets released their debut album ‘The Age of the Understatement’, and a lot has changed in that time. The Arctic Monkeys have released three albums – ‘Humbug’, ‘Suck It and See’ and ‘AM’; while Miles Kane has released two solo albums, ‘Colour of the Trap’ and ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ ,and he also parted ways with The Rascals, following the release of their debut album, also in 2008. Not only that, but both Turner and Kane have relocated to Los Angeles. It’s been a long wait. Eight years following its predecessor, ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’ as Turner and Kane’s latest collaboration is packed to the hilt with velvet rhythms, crooning warbles and spooky organs aplenty.

The Last Shadow Puppets’ debut album was a commercial success, going straight to number one in the UK Album Charts. ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect ‘has proved to be no different, also landing a number one spot following its release. This marks Turner’s seventh consecutive number one album: no small achievement when considering he’s only just turned 30. The album, recorded in legendary producer Rick Rubin’s Shangri La Studios in Malibu, is now available on Domino Records.

James Ford, who previously worked with the pair on their debut, returns to provide drums, and they’ve added Zach Dawes on bass. The four of them also contribute all manner of instruments throughout the record, from harpsichord to saxophone. This varied mix of music is accompanied on all of the tracks by a plethora of stringed instruments conducted by Owen Pallett, who also worked on the debut album, and Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) provides backing vocals on three of the tracks. On paper, there’s quite a lot going on. But it all comes together to create an ambitious collection of songs that sound like they’ve come from the depths of Turner and Kane’s most avant-garde dreams.

As a whole, the album is elegant and a little bit eccentric: it’s subtle and soft in places, before amping up the pair’s flair for drama in other parts. It almost feels like some of the tracks shouldn’t be on the same album together, yet work together in some sort of chaotic cohesion. It’s in the same vein as their previous stuff, but with a move towards experimentation. In other words, it sounds like the kind of album that two talented and close friends might make on the downtime between other commitments.

The first single released from the album, ‘Bad Habits’, is a bit of a stand-alone track in terms of tempo and momentum when compared to the rest of the album. It may have also misled us ahead of the album’s release as to the feel of the record itself. ‘Bad Habits’ opens with a pounding bass hook and feral screech, and from the first moment I heard the initial bars I knew I’d be listening to it again and again. The theatrical swell of strings and guitars that rise and fall throughout the track, alongside Kane’s raw vocals and the intermittent riff of a guitar, makes this feel like psychedelic pop.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGbOF4UPpfs[/youtube]

‘Aviation’, the record’s opening track and the third single released from the album, is one of the four songs on which Kane provides lead vocals. This is the song that feels most like it’s come out of the mould of what the pair has done before, with the steady rhythm of percussion and guitars, and stirrings of strings in the background. It’s an interesting opening to the album, teasing the listener into the realm of the familiar, before moving into slightly more uncharted territory than before. It’s also arguably the only song in history that has including the term “sectorial heterochromia” in the lyrics.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fd1Xc6-6VVg [/youtube]

Title track ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’ is a bit like the soundtrack to a haunted fairground, with the trippy organ cavorting away in the background. The track moves along with an unhurried march, from the dramatic string arrangement and infrequent banging of drums to the distorted singing of the album title throughout the chorus. Turner’s signature ability to whip up lyrical wonder is evidenced in the track, from the ominously trivial “as I walk through the chalet of the shadow of death”’ of the chorus, to the opening “tiger eyelashes, summer wine / goosebump soup and honey pie”. It’s about as weird and oddly poetic as you could hope for.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9YzPEu1TSw[/youtube]

Standout ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’ thumps along with the steady drive of the Bolero, before building into a heartfelt croon. Occasionally, there were times when listening to the album that I heard some of the lyrics, and had to replay to check I’d heard them correctly. On ‘Pattern’, Turner sings, “I slip and I slide / like a spider on an icicle”, and I internally curled up a little at the clumsiness of it. Then the lyrics in ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’, – you’re the first day of spring / with a septum piercing’ – made me question whether or not I thought that they are borderline genius, or self-indulgent nonsense. But by the time Turner cries out “little Miss Sweet Dreams, Tennessee” followed by a wave of strings to play the track out, I was sold.

There are other great tracks on the album. ‘The Element of Surprise’ is quick tongued and lyrically witty, pretty much everything we’ve come to expect from Turner. ‘The Dream Synopsis’ is a bizarre and endearingly personal story of one of Turner’s dreams. The lyrics “and the snow was falling thick and fast / We were bombing down Los Feliz / It was you and me and Miles Kane / and some kid I went to school with” sum up the odd collection of references and moments on this unorthodox track.

Overall, the great moments of the album outweigh the less impressive points. There’s perhaps a little to be desired for some listeners. And on certain tracks, such as ‘She Does the Woods’, seem to slide by without really demanding attention. But, on the whole, I‘m glad that Turner and Kane have come together once more. I’m looking forward to seeing what the pair put together for their next effort: here’s looking at you, 2024.

8/10

The Last Shadow Puppets are currently on a tour of Europe, the USA and Japan, which is set to run until August. They are also scheduled to appear at a number of festivals, including BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Exeter in May and T in the Park in Scotland in July. Visit the band’s Web site for more details on where you can see them live this summer.

 

Thom’s Top Albums of 2008

 
By on Wednesday, 31st December 2008 at 11:07 am
 

I did intend to do a full top ten, but seeing as I ran out of time I’m gonna list (in no particular order) the top albums of 2008.. I didn’t get time to cut down my shortlist either..

MGMT – Oracular Spectacular – This is the only album I ranked and I did so at Number One. A little cliched? Probably.. Predictable? Yes.. They’re topping loads of lists for this accolade (including the NME) and so perhaps this wasn’t the most shocking, but the truth is that I was praying for a 2008 release on this album (though strictly it was first released in 2007 the retail and UK versions fell in 2008). These physc-rockers have created the best album in a long while. It falls under no specific genre or style, yet is instantly listenable.

Highlights – Time To Pretend, Kids, The Youth

[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=bIEOZCcaXzE]

MGMT – Kids

The Metros – More Money, Less Grief – The most under rated debut of the year. If you could bottle London, muggings, sexual riots, ASBOs, depression, topshop and all, then press it on to a CD, it would sound like this. The South London based garage indie rockers have produced one of the best albums of the year, every track is brilliant and the signles released have been on par with the quality of the album as a whole. This definately deserves a listen.

Highlights – Talk About It, Last Of The Lookers, Education Pt.2, Sexual Riot

[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zw55Dr324dY]

The Metros –  Education Pt. 2 (Live)

Bloc Party – Intimacy – The unexpected third album from Bloc Party was a pleasant surprise, and anyone lucky enough to see them live this year were lucky as they maintained top form through festivals and tours. The album was a digital adventure in to varying sounds, lead single ‘Mercury’ was a stark contrast to some of the other more mellow singles. It wasn’t low on energy either, ‘Trojan Horse’ amongst others going down a treat at live shows.

Highlights – Signs (whilst there are a load on this album, this track is a must listen

[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=FWH3WAe6a_0]

Bloc Party – Talons

Continue reading Thom’s Top Albums of 2008

 

Best of 2008: Music Videos

 
By on Tuesday, 16th December 2008 at 2:43 pm
 

Kings of LeonAh, the music video. It’s a genius thing. Without it, we’d never have had the Thriller dance, Madonna’s pink leotard or Ok Go’s treadmill acrobatics! Shocking, I know!

Thankfully, in the recent age of sites such as YouTube and Yahoo! Music – the music video is once again reaching the peaks of it’s 80s MTV heyday.

So as the year draws to a close, I’ve decided to take a look back over 2008 and pick out a few of what I believe to be the greatest music videos of the year.

The Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next To Me

First up, we have a video from The Last Shadow Puppets (pictured, top)– the dapper duo compromising of Arctic Monkey, Alex Turner and Rascal, Miles Kane.

The band’s album, ‘The Age of the Understatement’, was a particular favourite of mine this year. It would appear, however, that I was not the only fan of the album. Not only did ‘The Age of the Understatement’ reach number 1, it also blagged a prestigious Mercury Music Prize nomination. Turner and Kane pull their slick, retro-vibe off perfectly in the ‘Standing Next To Me’ video. Check it out, here:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8YRx47oylM]

Weezer – Pork and Beans

It’s possibly one of the most discussed videos of the year (and the song, from the band’s self-titled 2008 album, is pretty good too). ‘Pork and Beans’ is a genius little video featuring the stars of YouTube, including Tay Zonday, Chris Crocker and Numa Numa guy, to name but a few. Who else can you spot? Check it out here:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muP9eH2p2PI]

Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire

Kings of Leon (pictured top of post, right) returned triumphantly in September with hit album, ‘Only By The Night’. Since many critics are labelling the album the greatest of 2008, it seems fitting that one of the Kings’ videos should appear in my list.

The video for number 1 single, ‘Sex On Fire’, is noticeably a little cheesy for these once hardcore Southern rockers. Ignoring the shower scenes and muscles fitting of a Backstreet Boys video – the track is still undeniably awesome. And they are still undeniably pretty *blushes* .

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHhhcKxflMY]

The Ting Tings – Shut Up and Let Me Go

The Ting Tings were one of 2008’s biggest successes. ‘We Started Nothing’ reached number 1 in the album charts and their super catchy little ditties soon gained worldwide exposure thanks to hit track, ‘Shut Up and Let Me Go’, featuring on an Apple iPod ad.

Check out the awesome video to said song here featuring lots of clever, hypnotic hand movements. Ooooo..

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r23cm7bL9E]

Lily Allen – The Fear

I’ll conclude my list with a video that’s only just been released. In a way, Lily Allen’s ‘The Fear’ helps us mark the transition from 2008 to 2009. Her album, ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’, is set to be released in February – so via the following video, we’re able to get a taste of what next year is set to bring us.

Check out the video to The Fear here. It’s a lovely little track, with an equally lovely video –

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-wGMlSuX_c]

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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