Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Album Review : The Chemical Brothers - Further

I've reviewed the new Chemical Brothers album "Further" for the Faded Glamour blog.

"Imagine being referred to as pioneers of what is arguably the most successful strand of electronic music, ever. The 90’s saw a young British duo take their form of dance music, now commonly known as “big beat dance”, to mainstream success not just in the UK but across the globe. That sort of tagline or billing has affected many artists before; they simply cannot live up to their former glories and slide away into the musical abyss. It is no small feat then that 15 years since the release of their debut album 'Exit Planet Dusk', The Chemical Brothers return with a brand new album for 2010, still pushing boundaries and certainly all the right buttons."

To read the full review head on over to Faded Glamour.

Friday, 25 June 2010

EP Review : Autoportrait - Songs For The Quietness

Autoportrait is the name under which London based singer songwriter Leila Zerai is currently performing. She kindly sent over a couple of tracks from her debut EP "Songs For The Quietness" for us to check out. Having already featured on a compilation from the excellent Smalltown America label, as well as praise from indie guru Steve Lamacq, this EP represents the next logical step forward for Leila and as such carries a certain degree of pressure.

However as the distance chimes begin on  "Song For The Quietness" and Leila's delicate yet strangely consuming vocals take over, its clear there is nothing to worry about and the hype is justified. The track is littered with odd samples and bleeps, and as drums are added to drive the song along you soon get taken away on a mystical electronic folky journey which certainly has its dark elements. "Awaken" in contrast begins with some lovely guitar finger picking which instantly whisks you away to a bright Summer's day without a care in the world. This track also lends itself to revealing the depth of Leila's vocals, which have quite a range in diversity, however it is her appreciation of tempo and mood which really help to set her apart from piers. Final track "Stinging" is a beautifully blended track which creates images of bleak and bright landscapes in equal measures, and will certainly have you captivated till the end.

More and more we read how every new artist is "different", and its certainly a word that can be overly used and easy to say, but with "Songs For The Quietness" Leila Zerai really has done just that. It certainly will not be to everyone's taste, but then that's what we like about it, she's pushing boundaries and has the confidence in her own musical ability and ideas. So if you're in the mood for something "different" (eek!) then you could do much worse than check out this excellent debut EP. 

You can also catch Leila playing various gigs around London this Summer, with the latest being on June 28th at 93 Feet East.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Single Review : Clock Opera - A Piece Of String

I might as well start by saying that this indie-electronica mash-up quartet became my new favourite band after just the first listen of their new track 'A Piece Of String.' Brilliant does not even begin the describe how good this song is…

Ok, now for a bit of background. Clock Opera began as a moniker for Guy Connelly, the frontman and founder who started out in bands The Corrections and The Fall Out Trust. More recently completed by Andy, Dan and Che, Clock Opera are certainly now a full band, a point Connelly seems to have struggled to convey, and they have just come off the back of a high profile support slot for Marina And The Diamonds.

Clock Opera refer to themselves as a "chop pop" band (a self-penned term that I'm sure they'll end up regretting) due to their rather unique way of constructing their finished product. Initially, the band play and sing their song, just like any other indie band, but then they go back and "chop" up the track into segments, including the vocals/lyrics, and reconstruct the segments into a different order, often adding in bleeping samples.

'A Piece Of String' is Clock Opera's second official single, following 'White Noise', and it’s the greatest single I have heard all year. Synths and guitars crash around a dreamy, albeit erratic, little mandolin sample, with only Guy's warm vocals reining everything in. One gets the impression that if it wasn't for the flow of the frontman's vocals all the electronica and indie guitars would simply spiral out of control. There is a Klaxons nu-rave edge to the vocal harmonies and chunky synths, but more suitable comparisons would be Flying Lotus, Autechre and Thom Yorke. Imagine if FlyLo decided to make an indie-pop crossover song and you might begin the grasp what level of genius Clock Opera are playing with. Never before have I heard a band successfully achieve this high level of experimentation while retaining such a pop accessibility.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Album Review : Tame Impala - Innerspeaker

Right let’s get one thing out the way: In their own words, Australian three piece Tame Impala play “psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music“ and new album Innerspeaker isn’t so much of a tip of the hat to a bygone era; it’s a full blown embrace of sixties psychedelia.

But get over this barefaced fact and what is left is a dazzling, swirling album full of tie dyed melodies drawn from a mixed pot of well loved sixties artists, most predominantly The Beatles. This is emphasised further by Kevin Parker’s vocals being unnervingly similar to Lennon’s own spellbinding wail. Moreover, Tame Impala join a growing number of Australian bands embracing psychedelic rock. Sounding at times more Wolfmother than ‘Zepplin, it’s evident this band are as much of a product of their own nation’s continued love affair with the sixties as they are with the era itself.

Shoegaze bands such as Spiritualized might have touched upon psychedelic “acid rock” before but Tame Impala explore this genre with such completeness and passion that their music is more actual psychedelia than a mere replica. In a world where most bands struggle to add quality or texture to well established genres here we have a three piece redefining what can be done with our collective musical past.

Innerspeaker’s twelve tracks make up one long musical acid trip of nostalgia; there is little joy in separating them out individually (although the weaving epic that is ‘Runaway, Houses, City, Clouds’ deserves a special mention). Each song melts into the next, layered, ethereal, technicolour and constantly accessible despite how esoteric things might initially sound. Sometimes guitar driven, often spacey, occasionally funky and always a meandering sonic adventure, Tame Impala breathe new life into psychedelia in a way other bands must envy. Immerse yourself in this album; it’s a fantastic achievement and a beautiful work of art.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Competition : O2 Bristol tickets up for grabs!

Every now and again its nice to give things out for free on Music Liberation, in the past we've sent out exclusive t-shirts and signed albums, and now we have a pair of tickets to a gig at the O2 Academy in Bristol to give-away. Those lovely people running the Gaymers music quiz on Facebook have sorted us out with a pair of tickets to a gig of your choice at the aforementioned O2 in Bristol. Now to get your grubby (or clean) hands on the prize there's a question. Of course there is! Can't make it too easy now can we. Well actually we can!

The question is...

Who has been your favourite artist you have discovered through reading Music Liberation, and why?

To answer simply reply to this post with a comment, detailing your name and email, and your answer of course!

We'll keep the competition open until 9PM Wednesday 16th June, upon which a random draw of all the entries will take place, and the winner will be notified via email shortly afterwards!