Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Killers' 'Battle Born'

I wasn't sure what to expect from The Killers' 4th album. I have to say I don't think there's been THAT much coverage in anticipation of the new material (apart from a few live events and the odd mention in a tabloid...) but aside from that they haven't been overly excelling themselves on the media front.

After the debut- 'Hot Fuss' which included many a hit and thereafter, the awesome 'Sam's Town' which included 'When You Were Young' and 'Bones' and then most recently, 'Day and Age' which contains the storming single 'Human' the four piece had a lot to live up to.

Most significantly, they've stayed true to their roots and loyal to their usual style. 'Battle Born' continues with the American rock genre. Everything from the artwork of the front cover featuring an American 50s car driving through what looks like the Grand Canyon to the phrasing of content "In this transient town/ waiters and dealers trying to get their foot in the door" - Heart of a Girl, The Killers have nailed what they do best.

This does, however to a certain extent make me wonder whether they're capable of branching out at all. The similarity of their tracks including 'Flesh and Bone' is a little too much like 'Human', whilst 'The Way it Was' although very reminiscent lacks imagination.

 However, 'Runaways' is obviously a strong choice for a single release. 'Flesh and Bone' is a natural second release from the album with such a strong vocal line, curious intro and indulgence in instrumentation, including the use of more electronic drumming, strings, a choir and more production than perhaps their earlier stuff. Other tracks which encourage me to give the album a chance include 'A Matter of Time', 'Battle Born' and 'Heart of a Girl' - a soft ballad that strips everything down to a hypnotizing, wandering tune. Overall the sound is much more mature and perhaps slightly reminiscent of a more 80s feel than anything as modern as Day and Age. Perhaps more of an album for the Dad ( or for those Dads that love Brucey Springsteen).

Like the Killers? Then why not try Alabama Shakes or Jack White?

The Mercury Music Awards nominations....in brief.

So what kind of blog would this be without a brief moan and recognition of the Mercury Music Awards shortlist?

I thought instead of rambling I would just keep it short and snappy. So here we are;

Richard Hawley 'Standing at the Sky's Edge' - Your Dad will love it

Lianne La Havas 'Is Your Love Big Enough?' - Your mum will love it (and deservedly so)

The Maccabees 'Given To The Wild' - Underrated and should get tons more praise for such a fantastic third album

Alt J 'An Awesome Wave' - The most refreshing thing I've heard all year

Plan B 'Ill Manors' - Obviously a groundbreaking record but not worthy (in my mere opinion) of heightening his already catapulted status

Field Music 'Plum' - Pop/folk at its most catchiest and undoubtably an entertaining performance

Jesse Ware 'Devotion' - A fresh approach for a female soloist with some beautiful tracks... but sadly not fresh enough

Django Django 'Django Django' - A good whole hearty piece of musicianship which should receive more recognition

Ben Howard 'Every Kingdom' - A gorgeous debut, staple record which everyone should own

Michael Kiwanuka 'Home Again' - A grittily raw blues and soul album

Roller Trio 'Roller Trio'   - The obligatory jazz ensemble who hold some unexpected twists

Sam Lee 'Ground of It's Own' - The true folk 'boundary' pusher.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Example and DJ Fresh at the iTunes Festival

So last night I was jammy enough to have actually won some tickets to the iTunes festival. As a haven for all fifteen year olds (or students) being on a school night and the fact that the festival is free, whether you win tickets or choose to queue outside he roundhouse and pray you get in, its certainly a younger persons 'do.

Not only the logistics of the gig, but the talent drafted in for last night included dubstep and pop- fusionist pioneer, DJ Fresh as support for Example was certainly a reason for attracting such a young audience. Fresh 'Live' was a genuinely impressive live band performance. DJ Fresh himself was on the electronics and keys as well as providing backing vocals. In addition, the extremely competent vocalist and excitable MC, warmed up the stage pretty well for Example. With hits as big as 'Golddust' , 'Louder' and 'Hot Right Now', the young, mosh-pit-loving crowd were kept bouncing throughout the entire set.

Example, albeit not the strongest vocalist (nor a riveting lyricist) gave an impressive performance. Up -beat, with excellent stage banter ("I'd just like to especially thank all the corporate f***ers sitting down there upstairs") and a strong band backing him, the overall vibe was sustained through the whole set. Both me and my buddy who'd tacked along were surprised at how many hits Example had ('Changed the Way You Kissed Me', 'Midnight Run', Kick Starts', 'Wont Go Quietly' and 'Natural Disaster'). How would have thought he could've easily filled a headline slot-with time to only perform 2 unknown new tracks from his upcoming album? I give him credit as he didn't overly plug his new material and was relatively loyal to his older stuff.