Los Campesinos! – My Year In Lists

2 04 2008

When I first heard the Los Campesinos! demos about 18 months ago, I thought it was one of the best demos I had ever heard. It was called ‘Hold On Now Youngster’. A few weeks ago, they released their debut album, also called ‘Hold On Now Youngster’ and I have to say it was rather disappointing. Too many of the songs sounded similar, there was far too much reliance on tweeness and not enough on brilliance. Certainly, some of the lyrics are inspired but the lack of musical diversity really holds it back, I think. It was a shame considering how good I thought it could have been. Despite that, the one ‘new’ song to me that really stood out was ‘My Year In Lists’ which they are now releasing as a single. Have a peek at it above.

On the Airwaves tonight…

18 01 2008

I present a show every Friday night at midnight GMT (so technically Saturday morning) on www.phantom.ie and Phantom 105.2 in Dublin. I generally concentrate on playing brand new music. On tonight’s show, I’ll be playing new stuff by Vampire Weekend, Hercules & Love Affair, Friska Viljor, Los Campesinos, Chris Joss, Ida Maria, The Dodo’s, One More Grain and Kill Krinkle Club amongst others. Hope you can tune in.

The ‘Under The Radar’ album will be ‘Love Lost’ by The Last Post. But here’s a fucking great clip of a track I’ll be playing tonight – it’s Can’s ‘Spoon’ with headbanging and a magician. You just don’t get the likes anymore.

Music From This Charming Couch

17 01 2008

So over the last few days, I’ve been recovering from an operation and lying in bed or on the couch listening to loads of new music and catching up on stuff I haven’t really got around to listening to properly. And the following things have struck me:

Burial is completely over-rated. ‘Untrue’ is a really average album that doesn’t do anything interesting and is full of horrible sped-up vocals. Can anyone explain this one to me? Why do so many people love this record?

There’s a wonderful record by a band called ‘One More Grain’ who sound like how I imagine The Fall would if they made a jazz record. I also really like the Los Campesinos! album (‘Hold On Now, Youngster’). I was concerned that I wouldn’t. Some of the singles they released weren’t as good as the stuff off the demo which first tweaked my interest but the album is tremendously smile-enducing and contains some of the best one-liners I’ve heard in ages. The forthcoming eponymous ‘Vampire Weekend’ is another record that has been making me grin a lot. There’s one particularly brilliant song on it, ‘M79’, that sounds completely out of step with everything else that’s going on at the moment and so much better for that.

 The new British Sea Power album, ‘Do You Like Rock Music’ is rather excellent in a massive anthemic-type way. I’m looking forward to listening to it walking through the city. There’s an album called ‘Inlandish’ by Hans-Joachim Roedelius & Tim Story which is rather good for falling asleep to. I mean that as a compliment. I’ve also been shaking my toes to lots of Rockabilly stuff which I’ve been getting more and more into of late. It’s funny that however much music you listen to, there is always a world of music, new and old, that lays undiscovered to you.

I also watched David Lynch’s ‘Inland Empire’ which made no sense to me so I gave up half-way through and I have been sitting through some of the BBC4 Pop documentaries I recorded over the last few weeks. There were a couple of great ones about what makes a great pop song. Paul Morley made a very enjoyable one where he dissected six songs which he considered to be amongst the best pop songs ever made and spoke to people who were involved with the song or who it had a marked effect on. One of the ones he examined was The Smiths’ ‘This Charming Man’, a song I have loved for a long time but it totally showed it to me in a new light – the lyrics made sense to me in a way I hadn’t seen before and its’ absolute genius is even more apparent than ever before. Have a look here:

Albums to look forward to in 2008

2 01 2008


My Bloody Valentine – Title TBC  Due Sometime 2008

Apparently, this is mostly done. According to Kevin Shields, it’s a continuation of the record they started in the mid-nineties, which he then described as ‘like drum & bass at 33RPM’ with some new tracks as well. Hopefully, it’ll be out in time for the gigs this summer which is all very exciting. There are some bands you’d hate to see recording together again (The Pixies, The Smiths)  but My Bloody Valentine are one band that just might pull it off.

Portishead – Title TBC (Rumoured Title: ‘Alien’) Due April 2008:

This looks like it could well be a stonker. They played some of the new material at their recent ATP appearance and reports all-round were excellent. You can see one of the tracks, Peaches here which is excellent and other tracks I’ve heard also seemed rather wonderful and very different for Portishead. Everything sounds much more upbeat and it seems like 60’s psychedelia may be a key influence on the record. But we’ll have to wait and see…

Goldfrapp - The Seventh Tree Goldfrapp – ‘Seventh Tree’  Due February 2008:

Having heard much of this, I have to say I’m really looking forward to it. I was a big fan of ‘Felt Mountain’ but have been fairly indifferent to anything since. But the new material is stripped-down and more ethereal with a Beatles/Cocteau Twins influence on the material I’ve heard. A&E is the first single to be released from the album and is already getting regular play on Phantom 105.2.

Los Campesinos – ‘Hold On Now Youngster’  Due February 2008:

It feels like a lifetime since I first heard their demo’s and got very excited by Los Campesinos!, which is unfortunate because a lot of their songs seem old to me now and they seem to be over-doing the twee factor the more I learn about them. But I’m still holding out hope that they’ll pull a great album out of the bag, I’ll forgive them their tweeness-overload and it’ll all be okay again. They play The Village on February 11th 2008

Cap Pas Cap  – Title TBC  Due Sometime 2008

They originally claimed that their album would be released in 2007 along with a split 7″ but neither made an appearance. In fact, their only release of the year was a re-press of their 2006 ‘Not Not Is Fine’ EP. Hopefully, it won’t take too much longer and we’ll be rewarded with releases in the near future. Hurry up, would you?

The Jimmy Cake The Jimmy Cake – ‘Spectre & Crown’  Due February 2008

The Jimmy Cake finally get around to releasing their follow-up to ‘Dublin Gone, Everybody Dead’, which is now six years old. They recently played some of the new tracks on The Indie Hour which sounded more piano-led and almost simpler than The Jimmy Cake you might be used to.

The Breeders: ‘Mountain Battles’  Due April 2008:

Steve Albini is involved and it includes a song in Spanish and a song in German. They play Dublin on April 7th 2008 in The Ambassador.

 Jape – Title TBC  Due: Feb/March 2008

Another one that fells like it’s taken an age to come out but hopefully it will be well worth the wait. Presumably, their current set will make up the bulk of the record which has to be a good sign. Songs like ‘Gimme Some More’, ‘I Was A Man’ and ‘Strike Me Down’ are all absolute stompers so it’s hard to see how this one can fail.

Wild Beasts – Title TBC  Due: Sometime 2008

Wild Beasts are a band that a lot of people are going to despise. Funny high-pitched vocals, bizarre lyrics and a general atmosphere of feyness abounds but I think they’re one of the most exciting new bands around. All three singles to date have been first class so I can’t wait to see what they do with a full-length.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Title TBC  Due: Hopefully 2008

Dexy’s are a long-time favourite of mine and ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels’ is one of my favourite albums ever. I saw a re-formed Dexy’s a few years ago and was sorely disappointed and this is a record I would have been worried about except that the new song Kevin Rowland has up on his Myspace page (‘It’s OK Johanna’) is fantastically deadly so perhaps all is not lost yet.

Foals Foals – Antidotes  Due: March 2008

This is a band that could still go either way for me. I have loved some of their tracks while others have left me cold. I’m glad to see that the tracklisting includes the track that got me excited about them in the first place – ‘The French Open’ and doesn’t include the underwhelming single, ‘Mathlethics’.

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend  Due: Jan 2008

They certainly stick out like a sore thumb from everything else that’s going on at the moment with their Afro-Beatles sound. You’re going to hear about them constantly for the next few months and endless reviews mentioning Paul Simon’s Graceland album but if their debut is as good as ‘Mansard Roof’ and new single ‘A Punk’, then it could well be worth the hype.

The Smiths – Boxset  Due: Late 2008

Johnny Marr confirmed towards the end of the year that he and Morrissey are compiling a boxset supposedly due for relese in 2008. Marr hoped it would include unreleased versions of tracks including some of the never-officially released Troy Tate demos and alternate versions and unrelesaed session versions of tracks. It won’t feature any new tracks but it may also include a DVD of unreleased live footage of the band.

Messiah J & The Expert – Title TBC  Due: Summer 2008 

I have to declare an interest here as I’m involved with the band  (See here) but I have heard a lot of the album and I think it sounds very exciting.

Other bands/artists that will hopefully release new records this year include Boards of Canada, Stereolab, Joanna Newsom, Broadcast, Edan and Boom Bip (His ‘Sacchrilige’ EP of last year was the best thing he’s ever done but I’m less keen on Neon Neon, his recent collaboration with Gruff Rhys). There’s always a few surprises and I’m sure this time next year I’ll be praising albums from 2008 by artists I don’t even know exist yet. That’s the fun part.

Los Campesinos! – Death to Los Campesinos!

18 12 2007

So, Los Campesinos! finally get around to releasing one of the highlights from their demo which I’ve been playing on the show ever since Phantom got on the air. And there’s a very colourful video to go along with this truncated version of the song. Having just released a song called ‘The International Tweexcore Underground’, they now go and make one of the twee-est videos ever featuring rainbows, stuffed toys, star confetti, balloons, kittens and all manners of multi-coloured fluffiness. However, it’s much fun and the new version of the song is rather fantastic. Their debut album, Hold On Now Youngster, is out at the end of February and they play The Village, Dublin on February 11th next year too.

Los Campesinos – The Village

12 11 2007

Cardiff’s tweecore popsters, Los Campesinos return to Dublin on Feb 11th to play The Village. This will tie in with the release of their debut LP, ‘Hold On Now, Youngster’, which is a fantastic album title. I’ve been playing their demos since Phantom went on the air a year ago but couldn’t make their recent Whelans date. There’s a taster of their live show above in the form of their bona-fide anthem, ‘You! Me! Dancing!’