Posts Tagged ‘Subways’

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Ace Of Hz

Review of Ladytron’s Gravity The Seducer and giveaway

Photo By Michele CivettaMichele CivettaYou would be forgiven for assuming that you had Ladytron figured out. It’s all right there in last year’s career-spanning compilation The Best Of Ladytron: 00-10; the Ladytron formula. Thick synths, robotic yet danceable beats and above all, the duelling icy vocals of Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo (though the edge in detachedness usually went to Aroyo on account of her stern Bulgarian accent). It’s a sound that was perfectly in style when that which they called “electroclash” crested in the early part of the century but managed to outstay the band’s peers thanks to their ability to marry fashion with pop songs that had genuine staying power; four albums of sleek, space-age synth-pop is nothing to shake a stick at.

So it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect more of the same from their fifth album, the just-released Gravity The Seducer, and indeed the elements at play are familiar, but something feels fundamentally different this time out. It took a few listens to put a finger on what, but what it sounds like is that Ladytron are sad. Gravity dials back the dancefloor bangers that punctuated previous efforts in favour of crafting a unified atmosphere whose prevailing mood is beautifully melancholic, the synths and beats working more towards a dreampop vibe than a krautrock one. To this end, Marnie gets more lead vocal turns than usual and Aroyo’s contributions are more emotive than usual, and a greater emphasis placed on crafting emotionally resonant melodies. Further, there are no less than three instrumentals out of the album’s twelve, the closing number “Aces High” a reprise of sorts to single and perhaps theme song “Ace Of Hz”, that bridge and tie together the album and contribute to its cinematic feel.

I’m not sure other writeups on the record have picked up on this, or if I’m imagining it, but to these ears Gravity sounds like a band taking advantage of a fresh chapter to reorient themselves creatively – not dramatically, but still enough to be noteworthy and to force the listener to approach it with fresh ears. Or it could just be another Ladytron record, equal parts steely, sexy and stoic, but even if so that’s hardly any bad thing.

The whole of the album is available to stream right now at Pitchfork and Ology has an interview with Daniel Hunt. Ladytron are at The Phoenix on October 5, tickets $20 in advance, but courtesy of Embrace I have two pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to be Seduced by Gravity” in the subject line and your full name in the body; contest closes at midnight, September 27.

MP3: Ladytron – “White Elephant”
MP3: Ladytron – “Ace Of Hz”
Video: Ladytron – “White Elephant”
Video: Ladytron – “Ace Of Hz”
Stream: Ladytron / Gravity The Seducer

DIY chats with The Subways on the eve of the release of their new album Money And Celebrity, out September 19.

USA Today has a profile and NPR and The Alternate Side sessions with Laura Marling, who is at The Great Hall on September 23 in support of her new album A Creature I Don’t Know; a short film for the album has also just been released.

Video: A Creature I Don’t Know: A Short Film

Room 205 kicks off a session series with Yuck. They’re at The Horseshoe on September 25 and have a deluxe edition of their self-titled debut out October 11.

We Were Promised Jetpacks have unveiled a new video from their forthcoming second album In The Pit Of The Stomach, out October 4.

Video: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Medicine”

The Quietus has the video for the title track of The Ship’s Piano, out October 17. There’s also a link to sign up for their newsletter and receive an MP3 of the tune. Artrocker has an interview with the former Hefner frontman.

Video: Darren Hayman – “The Ship’s Piano”

That a new Florence & The Machine record was coming this Fall was already a matter of fact; now Exclaim has the final missing details, specifically that it will be called Ceremonials and be out on October 31 in the UK, presumably but not guaranteed to be out in North America the following day. Update: And a new song from the album is up to stream.

Stream: Florence & The Machine – “Shake It Out”

Spin chats with Noel Gallagher about going solo. His Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is out November 7 and he plays Massey Hall on November 7 and 8.

Noah & The Whale have released a new video from Last Night On Earth. They’re at The Phoenix on November 8.

Video: Noah & The Whale – “Waiting For My Chance To Come”

The Guardian has premiered the new video from Summer Camp, a clip which was available to pledge supporters of their debut Welcome To Condale a few months ago but is now up for all to see. It’s out in North America on November 8.

Video: Summer Camp – “Better Off Without You”

Interview does their thing with The Kooks; their new album Junk Of The Heart is out now and they’re at The Sound Academy on November 23. The Sun also has an interview and they’ve also released a video for the album’s title track.

Video: The Kooks – “Junk Of The Heart”

New Anna Calvi video, y’all. She’s at Lee’s Palace on December 8.

Video: Anna Calvi – “Suzanne & I”

Pitchfork reports that The Big Pink are back with a new single and video in advance of the release of album number two Future This in January of next year.

Video: The Big Pink – “Stay Gold”

DIY has words – pleasant words, mind – with Peggy Sue.

Rolling Stone and The San Francisco Examiner talk to Patrick Wolf about his brief, acoustic solo US tour. He’s planning a full band excursion over here in 2012 when Lupercalia is released domestically.

DIY has an interview with Slow Club.

The Joy Formidable takes some time out to chat with DIY.

Artrocker interviews The Vaccines.

BBC6 checks in with Jimi Goodwin to see what he’s doing with Doves on hiatus – some soundtrack work and a solo record.

Brett Anderson discusses Suede regrets with The Guardian.

NME reports that Primal Scream are aiming to have a new album out sometime in 2012.

Kate Bush has turned rumour into fact and announced a November 21 release for her new studio album 50 Words For Snow, her first in six years and second in the last 17.

Monday, August 22nd, 2011


Emmy The Great and Joywave at The Studio At Webster Hall in New York

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo as mentioned yesterday, I’ve been on a little vacation in New York City the last few days. And while it was originally intended to be a music-free trip, when one of your favourite artists schedules a rare North American show that almost coincides exactly with your visit and at a venue three blocks from where you’re staying, well you adjust your plans. Which is why I was in Manhattan a day earlier than intended – to see Emmy The Great at The Studio at Webster Hall.

Support for the night was quite obviously added for scheduling compatibility rather than artistic, Joywave being a five-piece from Rochester, New York trading in boilerplate indie rock circa 2011 – dance-friendly rock with bits of funk and soul added in for good measure. Not bad, but not especially distinctive either. They do lose points, however for loudly talking by the bar through the headliner’s set. A lot of points. Okay, all points.

This actually wasn’t the first time I’d trekked down to the Big Apple to catch Emmy The Great – I did the same back during CMJ 2008 but those shows were more a bonus as I’d really hopped on a plane to see her fellow Brits Lucky Soul. Still, it was quite a contrast in performances between then and now. Then, her debut First Love was still a few months away so the performances were quick, stripped-down commando-style CMJ day shows that felt akin to busking. This time, she was following the release – at least in the UK – of her second album Virtue and had recruited locals Space Camp to play with her for these two US shows (the first was the night before in Philadelphia).

If Virtue represented an artist shaking the ‘folk’ tag in favour of ‘pop’, then this show saw her trying ‘rock’ on for size. Okay, that may be overstating a bit but with the thicker-sounding arrangements and Emma-Lee Moss wielding a shiny silver Gretsch for stretches of the set, it was certainly something different. There were a few point where the heavier and louder approach overwhelmed the material – whether it was the mix, the arrangements or the execution I can’t really say – but an ideal balance was struck around mid-set when Moss picked up the acoustic.

The 50-minute main set leaned heavily on Virtue, with only the two singles from First Love in the mix. Moss acknowledged that she technically had no records released in North America at the moment, but did mention that Virtue would be out in January, presumably in physical form and hopefully alongside some proper touring to promote. But as a treat to the hundred or so in attendance who’d most likely been following her career via singles and demos as long as I had, she went old-school and solo in the encore by honouring a request for “Edward Is Deadward” and a performance of “MIA” which she prefaced by criticizing the titular artist for her London riots tweets (Moss, by comparison, used her Twitter account to coordinate clean-up efforts). And as a big finish, she brought the band back out and invited Devonte Hynes of Blood Orange to join her on guitar and vocals for a cover of Weezer’s “Island In The Sun”. Considering it was through Hynes’ first Lightspeed Champion record that I first discovered Emmy The Great – she did backing vocals on it – the combo was especially sweet. And though I’d originally intended this trip to be a vacation both from my day job and the blog job… one night of working turned out to be pretty OK.

The Paris Review and Popingcherry have interviews with Emmy The Great. Joywave are giving away a free mixtape download.

Photos: Emmy The Great, Joywave @ The Studio at Webster Hall, New York – August 18, 2011
MP3: Emmy The Great – “A Woman, A Woman, A Century Of Sleep”
MP3: Emmy The Great – “We Almost Had A Baby” (Simon Raymonde mix)
Video: Emmy The Great – “Iris”
Video: Emmy The Great – “First Love”
Video: Emmy The Great – “We Almost Had A Baby”
Video: Emmy The Great – “Easter Parade”
Video: Emmy The Great – “MIA”
Video: Joywave – “Virus.exe”

FasterLouder talks to Dev Hynes about the first Blood Orange record Coastal Grooves, due out August 30.

The Subways, whom I’m affectionate towards despite their not being especially inventive, are back after a layoff on September 19 with their third album Money And Celebrity – there’s currently an MP3 and video to preview the new material.

MP3: The Subways – “It’s A Party”
Video: The Subways – “We Don’t Need Money To Have A Good Time”

Still Corners have released a new video from their debut Creatures Of An Hour, due out October 11. They play The Drake Underground on October 25.

Video: Still Corners – “Cuckoo”

State talks to Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite; their new EP Earth Division is out September 12.

Though some webrips were circulating immediately after its initial broadcast, Radiohead have made their From The Basement video session, wherein they performed the whole of The King Of Limbs live from producer Nigel Godrich’s basement. Their remix album TKOL RMX is out October 11.

Video: Radiohead / From The Basement

Clash asks Brett Anderson what he’d do on his last day on earth and unfortunately he gets the answer wrong, failing to say “get Bernard Butler on the horn to play one final PROPER Suede show in Chromewaves’ living room”.

Blurt chats with Lykke Li, in town at The Sound Academy on November 15.