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Arctic Monkeys - CD
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Obviously this probably the biggest record of the year, and it deserves to be. I sat in on a playback. Well I eavesdropped a playback and .... this.....record...does not disappoint. The first thing to say is that the band are cooking, especiailly er, Cookie's guitar which is full of laid back but super heavy solos and a general feeling of menacing fun last heard when Johny Marr was breathing life into the last run of Smiths 7's.
The adolescent rush of 'Whatever....' has gone, that's what happens when you grow up, but so has the second half of 'Favourite Worst''smore downbeat material. Instead there is more a group rocking together lost in their own world.
The Last Laugh
Joker's Daughter (Danger Mouse) - CD
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This is a very summery & mellow record - cue sunshine. Danger Mouse is all over it but so is the remarkable voice of Helena Costas.A folky affair but full of Danger Mouse's trademark beats and bleeps.Imagine the Wicker Man soundtrack redone by Gorrilaz, or Vashti Bunyan with an 808 and a string arranger.
Filmic and panoramic this is perfect for a road trip watching the fields go by.
Wild Beasts - CD
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Two Dancers has all the hallmarks of an incredible band lost in their own world. Sonically it is a tightrope walk of Hayden Thorpe's falsetto and the high drama of the band playing a loose almost ambient rock: quicksilver guitar lines and heartbeat drumming.The whole things sounds incredibly English - but not the flag waving oompah of britpop. Wild Beats are from Kendal and Two Dancers sounds like mists, fells, stone and strange characters coming to terms with secrets they wished they never knew.
Through it all runs an incredible sense of excitement and romantic yearning. Forget all the young pretenders who think they sound like the smiths and the jam and sing about supermarkets - Wild Beasts are the real thing, epic, eccentric and individual
Bonnie Prince Billy - CD
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Beware is the sound of the stars as the Bonnie Lord William surveys his kingdom.If you don't know where to start with Bonnie Prince Billy start here. Part of BPB's charm is his unpredictability, his wayward refusal to act the part: rare interviews, no new age mobile phone ads, just the records and sometimes some concerts. It seems Beware is ready for a push. All I can say after one listen is...and rightly so.Beware may have a title asking you to watch out but this is a record that give you a hit of instant inner warm glow.
There are flutes, fiddles and pedal steel. And there are opaque loveworn lyrics sung crystal clear. Gospel harmonies turn I Won't Ask Again into his most beautiful song to date. Echo and space on Heart's Arms make it his most mysterious
In short Beware - you are about to fall very heavily for the Bonnie Prince
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand - CD
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This is more exciting than i had hoped for and very much worth the wait. It sounds like pure Franz Ferdinand but a band that really know who they are and are now at ease with taking time to make a really artistic, dark, funky masterpiece. It kicks of with 'Ulysses" and says pretty clearly that they've found "a new way". Lucid Dreams is a 7 minute very psychedelic track: Strawberry Fields at a Glasgow disco.Tonight is a reminder of how fresh FF were and now they've become slightly dangerous and dark. This is the real thing - Tonight!
Merriweather Post Pavilion
Animal Collective - CD
10 New from
I heard this at a listening party I went out of curiosity but came back a massive fan. This has a lot of Beach Boys i it but also a lot of electronic beats and pulses. Before i had them down as a Brooklyn hipster thing but this is the sort of record journalists like to think Mercury Rev or Fleet Foxes make, big, melodic, futuristic and emotional. At times it also reminded me of Hot Chip the way it combined electronic rhythms with emotional fragility. I can't exactly explain...check it out I think this will be huge in 2009.