Albums of Note... David Bowie’s return to the shelves of our local record shops (well, the few that still exist) has been met with a grateful and adulatory fanfare, across the board and it’s been no different here at Contactmusic. Having run out of contemporary influences upon which to draw, Bowie took the old adage that pop will eat itself and made an album to fit. On The Next Day, Bowie largely references himself and his own body of work, recalling his Berlin days, as well as providing an extension of the tracks he released in the nineties.“Assessing how The Next Day sits alongside anything else he's done is irrelevant; an artist who has gone through as many character changes, taken on as many styles and moved through as many eras as he has defies such lazy list making. What can be said is that it is, at this point in time, at this point in his life and career, probably as good a record that David Bowie could've possibly come up with.”
Some of the mystery of Rhye’s cloaked existence has been unveiled and the band’s two components have been revealed as Toronto born producer Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal of Quadron. They draw comparisons to The XX, partly thanks for Milosh’s falsetto, which led many to believe that it was a woman on vocals. Possibly part of the reason they choose to entitle the album Woman...? “'Woman' is a chilled, tranquil listen but not a boring album by any means. The duo creates songs that fill with distant, mysterious moods. But, it still feels like an intimate album piled high with textured layers.”
Foxygen will most likely be labeling We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic as their breakthrough album. It’s a seriously nostalgic affair, with Foxygen recalling so many bands of days gone by (The Beatles and the Stones to name an obvious pair). “Whilst the music they create is totally new, fresh, current and completely their own, it has a certain familiarity to it; a sound you've nearly heard before or a sense of deja vu about it. Foxygen are not so much retro leaning as retro collapsed, plunged, immersed and double dipped.”
From Ambassadors of peace, to Atoms For Peace and a new album from Thom Yorke and his music industry cohorts. Amok was never going to be able to slip into existence without bearing comparison to Radiohead’s own recorded output but it comes off well. Atoms of Peace may not welcome the ‘supergroup’ tag but really they’ve nothing to worry about as they manage to sideswipe all the troubles of being pitted against their own pasts:“It lacks the intensity of a Radiohead album (not to say that it is by any means inferior) and as such is far easier to just enjoy without investing oodles of time. It has a cohesive chilled back and mellow charm to it but also has an ever present edge of menace that never quite reveals itself.”
Live Review of the Week... Sigur Ros remained veiled from the audience for the first two songs of their set at Wolverhampton Civic Hall. When the curtain falls, at the climax of ‘Ny Batteri,’ though, they reveal a bolstered incarnation of the band – the strongest it has been for some time. The band deliver a phenomenal, intense experience; a reminder of just how powerful then can be at their peak.“When not bombarded by the sheer density of their current spectacle, that you fully appreciate how perfectly everything is put together. There is no hint of a missed cue nor a bum note throughout 15 songs of considerable complexity, and the mix is absolutely perfect from the quietest wisps of the aforementioned 'Svefn-G-Englar' to the shrieking guitar squalls of the set’s close.”
A Week in Video... Manchester’s Everything Everything are on album number two and it’s seen them making serious forays into the mainstream. They’ve retained much of their quirkiness, yet smoothed out many of the melodic histrionics. Backed with an orchestral sound, ‘Duet’ is a grandiose pop song, with an atmospheric video to match. Taking its cue from the opening lyric “of all the dead volcanoes on Earth, you just happened to retch and roll through mine,” singer Jonathan Higgs is doused in volcanic dust as the camera trains solely on him. Guess the rest of the band all called in sick that day…
‘Apple of My Eye’ is the latest track from hip-pop star Big Boi (one half of Outkast). Retaining the playful thread for which OutKast became known and revered, Big Boi’s solo offering is just as playful. Part hip-hop, part soul, part modern pop, Big Boi knows just how to go mainstream but retain an underground edge.
Don’t be fooled by The Neighbourhood’s decision to utilize the UK spelling of their name. They hail from Thousand Oaks California and they’ve already got music critics wringing their hands over whether or not they’re credible enough to be the next big hype band. Singer Jesse Rutherford is very much the front man of the group and his obsession with monochromatic imagery extends to the video for 'Sweater Weather.' With strains of hip-hop running through this pop-rock number, Rutherford almost has a Bruno-Mars-esque sound to his voice and the band have a sound headed in a direct path to chart stardom.
Music in the News... Laura Marling, the queen of the British nu-folk scene, will be releasing a fourth studio album, entitled Once I Was An Eagle, on May 27, 2013. Aged just 23, Marling will be hoping to improve on the huge success of her 2011 album, A Creature I Don't Know.
As we reach festival saturation point, Hard Rock Calling announces its line-up for 2013. The venue has moved homes, after last year’s problems in London’s Hyde Park. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band will be returning to the festival for the second year running and the line-up will also be bolstered by Kasabian and Paul Weller amongst others. Hard Rock Calling takes place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, June 29-30, 2013.
A slightly smaller affair, Lounge On The Farm has also released details of its line-up this summer. The event takes place on July 26 – 28 in Canterbury and this year, punters can expect to see performances from Seasick Steve, Simone Felice. Dub Pistols and Soul II Soul.
Like most viewers of his documentary Mayor of the Sunset Strip, director George Hickenlooper (The...