NEWS: New Kaiser Chiefs album!

The internet has certainly opened up more opportunities for bands to release music on their own terms, which is a brilliant thing. But I’ll admit, I never would have thought something quite this strange or out there would happen.

Kaiser Chiefs have just released their latest album, The Future Is Medieval, and it’s a fan-made album. A huh what?

Basically, you pick 10 of the 20 songs Kaiser Chiefs have made available, put them in order, then design the artwork. After which you fork over £7.50 and download your new album.

Now here’s the really interesting bit. For every version of your album they sell, you make £1.

At first I thought “Well, lots of fans are going to have to buy two copies of the album now – that’s a bit harsh”, but the last bit of information spices things up a bit. Kaiser Chiefs are letting other people make money from their music! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that concept before.

If you feel like making your own album, or buying someone elses, jump over here and check it out. It’s a pretty neat idea.

And for all of you huge Kaiser Chiefs fans out there, or people who simply want all of the tracks, here are links to two albums which put together comprise of all 20 songs: Album One and Album Two. Downloading all 20 and re-ordering them over time sounds like the way to go I reckon.

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BRAND NEW: The Living End – “The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating”

This morning Aussie rockers The Living End premiered their brand new track on triple j at 7am – it’s called “The Ending is Just the Beginning Repeating”.

The band teased fans earlier this week by posting a short snippet on their website, a sample of lyrics, and a timer counting down to, well… pretty much now.

So what’s it like? Chris Cheney’s vocals sound great as per usual, and the song has a bit of an old Western vibe to it with the bell rings. The guitars sound great with the chugging verse, although I’m a bit concerned the chorus lyrics (the title) don’t have any kind of special hook to them – it just sounds a bit dry. On the other hand, in a live setting I can see the whole track going down brilliantly. It’s got an anthemic kind of feel, and I reckon it’s going to please fans of their more recent work.

Interestingly, the timer is still there after the premiere! But it’s longer. It’s counting down to 9am on the 22nd of July – the release date of their new album.

Take a listen to “The Ending is Just the Beginning Repeating” for yourself over at the band’s website right now. It’s out on iTunes too.

FEATURE: Albums Of The Year – 2010

2010 was one of those odd years where I can’t say I listened to a whole heap of new albums. For example Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs only got a few spins, despite how good I think it is, just because I got distracted I guess. Anyway, without further ado – my top few releases of 2010, and some not from 2010 too.

Album of the Year: Los Campesinos! – Romance Is Boring

I think I knew months ago that this would be my favourite. RiB displays LC!’s true talent in crafting amazingly evocative, relatable, indie-pop/twee music, and the size of the band (they’re an 8-piece) adds another dimension to their music. From start to finish this album doesn’t let up, and I really see it as the culmination of their hard work on previous releases. A brilliant album, well worth trying.

Notable mentions:

The National – High Violet

Birds of Tokyo – Self-titled

Dead Letter Circus – This Is The Warning

Delphic – Acolyte

Los Campesinos! – Alls Well That Ends [EP]

Johnny Foreigner – You Thought You Saw a Shooting Star But Yr Eyes Were Blurred With Tears and That Lighthouse Can Be Pretty Deceiving With the Sky So Clear and the Sea So Calm – EP

There are other releases out there I listened to, but not enough to really appreciate or develop a real opinion of – so I’ll leave them out.

The rest of the year was spent appreciating Johnny Foreigner’s two albums, which are absolutely brilliant. They have cemented themselves as one of my favourite bands in the past three months, and hopefully will one day get the recognition they deserve. I also discovered the rapper P.O.S. who is amazing, with a great delivery and provocative lyrics.

For those interested, the past twelve months on Last.fm show my top artists as:

  1. Los Campesinos! – 2471 plays
  2. Karnivool – 1354 plays
  3. Johnny Foreigner – 1264 plays
  4. The National – 959 plays
  5. Radiohead – 853 plays
  6. Birds of Tokyo – 787 plays
  7. Dead Letter Circus – 664 plays
  8. Bloc Party – 523 plays
  9. We Are Scientists – 325 plays
  10. Death Cab For Cutie – 258 plays
  11. Thom Yorke – 253 plays
  12. Queens of the Stone Age – 231 plays
  13. Josh Pyke – 223 plays
  14. Modest Mouse – 198 plays
  15. P.O.S. – 182 plays

Happy New Year everyone!

REVIEW: Celadore – “Distance Is A Gun”

 

Melbourne trio Celadore are touring their debut EP, “Distance Is A Gun”, at the moment.

“Distance Is A Gun”, the title track, is full of catchy hooks, and for a three-piece it sounds like these guys have some energy behind them.

Their unashamedly pop-rock influences show, and their embrace of these influences is really something to be proud of. Despite staying true to a style of music that’s been done time and time again, it’s a solid effort, and with the introduction of various off-beat guitar rhythms, it’s interesting enough for those of us who need a bit more in a song.

Lyrically, they feel a notch above their contemporaries, with lines like:

“closer to a stranger, than anyone i love.

the less space the better, distance is a gun.”

Celadore have crafted a solid song filled with catchy hooks. Keep an eye out for these guys, because once they get their break, they could be up there.

Verdict: Positive.

Grab a free download here.

Check out their clip for “Distance Is A Gun” here.

REVIEW: Los Campesinos! – “Romance Is Boring”

Making good music that connects with people emotionally is like making good toast. Some bands over-cook it. Some bands under-cook it. Some bands use grainy bread, and then put a spread on top, which just tastes funny. Some bands can’t even figure out how to turn the toaster on. Well, I can at least tell you this much: Los Campesinos! know how to make goddamn good toast.

“Romance Is Boring”, their second album (arguable I know, but “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” is considered an EP by the band), came out earlier this year. So though this review is slightly belated, I can’t run a music blog and not talk about an album I love so much.

Let me begin by talking about one of Los Campesinos!’s most defining aspects: Gareth’s lyrics. Gareth has to be, without a doubt, one of the most interesting and thought-provoking lyricists I have ever heard. Often dealing with love and relationships (the album title wouldn’t be a hint there, would it?), he manages to tell a story perfectly without making the already over-saturated topics dull, which is a feat in itself.

But then again, you need only listen to one song to know Los Campesinos! are anything but dull. Whilst the dual vocals of Gareth and Aleks aren’t as prominent as they were in earlier releases, they still feature occasionally, and both of them still know how to build up tension and release it at exactly the right points.

On this album, the rest of the band have really refined their musicianship to the next level. Moving beyond what felt like a cluttered mess at times on debut “Hold On Now, Youngster…”, they’ve kept their distinct Campesinos! style, cleared up what wasn’t needed, and focused on crafting engaging anthemic indie pop. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Featuring grander instrumentation than previous releases (the brass on opener “In Medias Res” is astoundingly catchy) whilst still keeping their subtle and tender moments (like closer “Coda: A Burn Scar in the Shape of the Sooner State”) provides the album with the sense of maturity that it needs. Whilst staying true to their own unique indie roots, they’ve shown us that they can produce a solid album that has its musical highs and lows.

It should now be more evident than ever that Los Campesinos! aren’t “just another indie band”. Combining Gareth’s witty, often bleak, but almost always clever and engaging lyricism with the other Campesinos!’s fast, aggressive, bright, and swirling musicianship, has helped this band craft what I consider a near masterpiece. The tracks flows extremely well, and whilst some songs may take a while to get used to (“Plan A” was a grower for me), I cannot recommend it enough. Essential listening for people who like their music fun with a dash of pessimism.

Grab a free download of “The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future” here.

Verdict: Positive. BRILLIANT.

REVIEW: Dead Letter Circus – "Disconnect And Apply"

Dead Letter Circus’s debut album, "This Is The Warning", is going to be released on May the 14th, and on the announcement of their album launch tour (through late May to early June) I thought it seemed appropriate to introduce them to those of you who haven’t heard of this excellent band. It’s been a long wait for many fans for their first LP, but when it’s in the hands of Forrester Savell (who’s worked with Karnivool and The Butterfly Effect, the former for which he produced a brilliant sophomore album) I’m sure they needn’t worry too much.

After a small exploration of their work, it’s evident that Dead Letter Circus are heavily influenced by the growing number of quality Australian hard rock and progressive acts that are emerging. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. So if you’re a fan of Cog or Karnivool, this might just be your kinda band.

"Disconnect And Apply" opens with a flying guitar riff and pounding drums. Right off the blocks and the song seems to be going at 100 miles an hour. Building up to an expansive chorus, there is a great deal of talent evident in the vocal melodies, which lift the song up. Moving between the rushing verses, the song leaves you hanging just for a moment, before one last explosive chorus. Tying it all up, Kim Benzie yells "See you at work on Monday", before fading out. It might come in at just over 3 minutes, but it’s enough. The song doesn’t feel like it’s cut short. This is 3 minutes of quality music.

Whether they’re touring near you or not, I urge you to give Dead Letter Circus a go. Even though "Disconnect And Apply" won’t be on it, I really think (and am hoping that) "This Is The Warning" could be a landmark point in another great Australian band’s career.

Score: 9/10

Grab a free download of "Disconnect And Apply" here.

Worth checking out are both their new song, "Here We Divide", which you can stream on their website (just scroll down a little bit for the post), and "The Space on the Wall", which you can watch here. Watching Luke Williams play the drums with bread rolls and what appear to be leeks is kinda funny. It’s a good song too.