Biffy Clyro: Live @ Le Bataclan 25/09/18

Biffy Clyro live paris the bataclan

They say the sign of a good song is that it can be performed, and sound equally as good, acoustically. Whilst I'm not 100% on board with this statement, I do appreciate a good stripped down rendition, so when Biffy Clyro announced a tour in support of their new unplugged album, I wanted to pop along.

A quick train ride over to Paris brought me to the iconic venue known as Le Bataclan. It was an interesting experience entering this venue, after the horrific events a few years back, I have to confess to a small amount of unease on the initial walk down to the theatre, however this immediately dissipated after walking into the room and feeling the embrace of a warm and welcoming atmosphere.



The gig itself had more a singalong celebration vibe to it rather than the rowdy rock n roll one Biffy usually bring with them. Surrounded by onstage foliage and the 18th century decor of le Bataclan, the trio jump straight into the heavy hitters with The Captain and Biblical. The lack of fuzz and ear splitting guitars is something that takes a little while to get used to, especially as the opening bars of Saturday Superhouse start up.

This intimate scenario does allow the band to dust off some more obscure tracks from their back catalogue, tracks such as Drop it and The Rain which fit the mood perfectly. Talking about fitting the mood perfectly, Ellipsis track Small Wishes is a personal highlight, with its oddly folksy arrangement and audience participation wolf howl moment hitting that perfect mix of ecstasy and hilarity.



We're also treated to some new tracks from the band, with the setlist featuring both A Different Kind of Love and Adored, the latter appearing on their forthcoming cinematic experiment Balance, Not Symmetry. However, its an older track which steals the show. Justboy, which appeared on their very first album, soars superbly this evening, triggering one of the loudest singalongs (in a night of singalongs) and descended a state of euphoria over yours truly.

All in all, its a night of celebration, the audience would have let the trio go on all night, and the scary thing is Biffy probably could have, such is their extensive catalogue of tracks. So Biffy can entertain both electrically and acoustically, I guess that makes them a pretty good band after all. Who knew!

Setlist

The Captain
Biblical
Saturday Superhouse
Re-Arrange
Drop It
Black Chandelier
As Dust Dances
Folding Stars
Different People
Different Kind of Love
The Rain
Mountains
Adored
Opposite
Justboy
Medicine
Small Wishes
Bubbles
Machines
Friends and Enemies
God & Satan
Many of Horror
Spotlight: Gender Roles

Gender Roles Band

*New favourite band klaxon*

Uh oh, you know what that sound means! It's time to introduce you to your new favourite band!

Gender Roles are a three piece band from Brighton who are making a bit of a stir in the UK rock scene. Having released two EPs so far, including the excellent Lazer Rush, the band are very much still in the beginnings of their career, but from what they've released so far, this is not a trio to sleep on.



With a sound entrenched in indie sensibilities whilst maintaining a punk attitude, Gender Roles are ideal for a house party playlist. Stick these guys tracks on amongst your indie disco favourites and they won't sound out of place.

About Her is a pop rock gem with a hook so contagious it should came with a health warning and Plastic is a garage rock anthem which will be polluting underground clubs for years to come.



So where can you catch these guys?

Well, they're set to tour the UK in support of Dinosaur Pile Up in November at the dates below, and then hopefully some new tunes later this year or in 2019.

23/11 - Leeds Church
24/11 - Glasgow Cathouse
27/11 - Nottingham Rescue Rooms
28/11 - Cardiff Globe
29/11 - Bristol Fleece
30/11 - Manchester Academy
01/12 - London Electric Ballroom




Impromptu Summer Break

Summertime palm tree

Oh dear. This is very unprofessional, isn't it?

In case you live anywhere other than the UK, you might not be aware of the spate of incredible weather Britain is experiencing currently. Instead of rainy evenings, cold winds and questionable excuses for "heatwaves" we've experienced an actual Summer with actual good weather.

This has in turn caused me to put down the laptop and go outside, meaning that unfortunately I haven't been updating this blog as much as I would like. 

The good news is, we've all had a nice time basking in the sunshine so most likely everybody browsing for music comment and updates are probably outside on a deck chair...so we're all good right?

Now, stuff has been happening since this break happened and I've been listening to a metric ton of music both new and old. So to compensate for these sparse content weeks, allow me to showcase a few of the tunes which have been accompanying me outside under the blue sky.

Add them to your BBQ playlist and be the envy of all your sunburnt mates.

Flight of the Conchords - The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)



^ Saw these guys at the Hammersmith Apollo a few weeks back and they were incredible.

twenty one pilots - Jumpsuit



Banger. Don't @ me.

The Last Shadow Puppets - Moonage Daydream (David Bowie Cover)



Alex Turner and The Sopranos are currently heavily influencing my dress sense. Vests and unbuttoned shirts all the way.

Kids See Ghosts - Feel The Love Ft. Pusha T




Kanye is GOAT.

Pendulum - The Island Part 1 (Skrillex Remix)

 
You're going to sit in the sun and NOT listen to this? Please.

Superorganism - SPRORGNSM



Great band.

Panic! At The Disco - King of the Clouds



Brendan Urie, man. This guy took this band further than anyone expected, AND STILL PUT OUT TUNES LIKE THIS. 

Al Green - Love and Happiness



Best performance ever?

Leonard Cohen - Memories



Leonard has a go at being a crooner. And its good stuff.



Introducing: Hilary Woods

Introducing Hilary Woods

Time for some music to enjoy in the twilight hours.

Hilary Woods is an artist from Dublin who creates minimalist compositions, layering atmospheric instrumentation and dreamlike vocals to create music rich with both delicacy and intensity.

Her debut album Colt is out now and the first track released of it is entitled Inhaler, a song which draws upon the emotions of separation...

"It's a response to a relenting absence that was constantly present, Inhaler is a song about homesickness, longing; an attempt to find new ways of being in the wake of separation. I directed the video and worked with friends: cinematographer and long-time collaborator Joshua Wright, and dancer/ choreographer Justine Cooper."

It's a beautiful piece of music and one of a number of tracks from her debut which had me lost in a realm-shifting haze.


Hilary was kind enough to answer a few questions for me! Now. In hindsight, these questions weren't all that appropriate for a musicianship with such thoughtful grace. But alas, the introducing questionnaire holds no prisoners, and thus hear we are, beautiful music and a slightly jarring Q&A...who would have it any other way?

1. What is your favourite album and why?

Sybille Baier ‘The Colour Green’, Van Morrison ‘Astral Weeks’, Low ‘Things we lost in the fire’, The Haxan Cloak “Excavation” too many to choose from.

2. What is your least favourite album and why? 

Any middle of the road choosing.

3. If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?

Circular, Layered, Earthed.

4. What made you start making music? 

Alchemy.

5. Favourite swear word?

 F*ck.

6. If you could create a band from musicians (excluding yourselves) living or dead, who would you choose? 

The Lady in the Radiator from Eraserhead. Eartha Kitt, Roy Orbison, Alvin Batiste, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Martin Hayes.

7. Obvious musical skills aside, do you have any secret talents?

Still working on ‘em.

8. What is your favourite childhood TV show?

Grew up without a tv, imaginatively it might have been ‘The Wonder Years’

9. Aside from music, what profession would you like to attempt and why?

Anything different, maybe sculpture.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Hell Yes.

Hilary Woods debut album Colt is available now via Sacred Bones.

Album Review: Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Arctic Monkeys New Album TBHC 2018

The mind is a funny thing, isn’t it? It’s said that your only limitations on this earth are the limitations you put on your mind, ergo a person with creative juices flowing out of here there and everywhere, and with a healthy serving of ambition can take things wherever they want.

This goes some way to explaining how Alex Turner has taken the Arctic Monkeys to the moon on their latest record Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Detailing the characters, locations and general vibe of the lunar hospitality complex, Turner invites the listener to bask in a world, which musically, is worlds away from any of their previous releases.

Imagine yourself in New York, it’s the 1950’s and you find yourself in a jazz club. You order yourself a drink, a short would fit this scenario nicely, perhaps a gin and tonic, or a Whiskey on the rocks? You glance across the club whilst waiting for the barman and notice the next band setting up.

New York bar 1950

A myriad of synthesizers and electric guitars litter the stage. The front man, sporting a brown suit, suspicious goatee and rimmed sunglasses walks over to the microphone and as the music kicks in utters the words “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes”.

Okay, so that’s where everything falls to bits because The Strokes didn’t exist yet, but you get the idea. This is luscious down tempo rock n roll, taking its marks from Leonard Cohen, The Beach Boys, Dion and others of their like.

The aforementioned lyric comes courtesy of opener Star Treatment, which sets the tone for the album nicely, both in its musical sensibilities and its lyrical direction, which is a mix of sci-fi references, autobiographical admissions and mesmerising word play. Turner really is on top form here.

One Point Perspective and American Sports are both early highlights, with the self-titled track Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino rounding off probably the strongest string of tracks on the album.

However its not until side two before we get this albums magnum opus. Four out of Five somehow makes a hit song based on the confusing theme of building a taqueria on the roof of a lunar complex called the “Information Action Relay”. It’s bewilderingly brilliant stuff, and by the end of the track you feel like saying “I’ll have what he’s on”.



She Looks Like Fun falls just short of Four out of Five’s brilliance, but still contains some of the best lyrics on the album...

I'm so full of shite,
I need to spend less time stood around in bars,
Waffling on to strangers all about martial arts,
And how much I respect them


To round the whole thing off we have The Ultracheese, which takes AM track Number One Party Anthems vibe and dares to push things to their ultimate conclusion, a ballad with a melody sounding like it was taken straight from Les Miserables. It’s daring, but after Turners previous exploits with side project The Last Shadow Puppets, I suppose we shouldn’t be so surprised to hear a muted guitar solo and a full on Sheffield croon.

And thus concludes our stay at the Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, a place, which much like a spa loyalty card, rewards repeat visits, and with the array of musical splendour on display here, who wouldn’t want to come back?

Now, where did I put that gin?



Spotlight: I'm Cyborg But That's Ok

I'm cyborg but thats ok - Youtube

New feature in which I turn my attention to a particular topic which has caught my rye eye lately.

Ever fallen down a Youtube hole? It's where you start off with the good intentions of just watching one quick video, maybe of a hamster falling off a wheel...I don't know. Anyway, one thing leads to another and sure enough a few hours later you're 15 videos deep and watching one of your favourite tracks being set to the imagery of a classic film.

That's what happened to me a few weeks ago, and I have to say, it's quite good! I admit, the concept sounds like an A-level media studies assignment, but when it's done well, and not by four spotty teenagers huddled over Windows 98, it can be quite effective.

The particular Youtube channel in question (who seems to be the most successful at this) is called I'm Cyborg, But That's Ok, and he/she has created hundreds of these videos featuring an array of popular and not so popular tracks matched up against an array of popular and not so popular films.

Listen...it's not rocket science, but sometimes it's the simple things in life that give us the most pleasure. It's also a good way to get your mind in the mood for some slower, more relaxing sounds, if like me drums, fuzzy guitars and heavy bass-lines sit more naturally with your musical pallet.

Next time you find yourself at a loose end, maybe in need of a spot of relaxation, or wanting to find a few new track or film recommendations, stick this Youtube channel on, and see if you don't enjoy a few of its creations.

You can take a look at a few of my favourite cuts below. Enjoy!

Mac De Marco - My Kind of Woman



Alt J - Matilda



Elvis Depressedly - Pepsi/Coke Suicide



Pixies - Where Is My Mind?



Sigur Ros - Hoppipolla



New Music: Krystal Klear - Neutron Dance

Krystal Klear The Division

It's been a while since my last post. I do apologise, but I offer no explanation other than holiday and laziness.

Once you're in a bit of a writing lull it takes something special to get you back in the mood to put pen to paper (or the digital equivalent) and publish something new. Luckily, I heard one of the best pieces of dance pop in years the other day and felt compelled to tell you all about it.

The track is called Neutron Dance is by Dublin based music producer and DJ Krystal Klear. It's a joyous record which is almost guaranteed to bring a smile to your face as soon as the main synth riff kicks in.

It has a real retro vibe to it, with drum machine sound reminiscent of New Order's Blue Monday, and a hook which could be described as 2018s answer to Hot Butter's classic Popcorn.

It's just great fun, and deserves to be blasted across warehouse raves and barbecues this summer. You can take a listen to the track below and Krystal Klear's latest release The Division is available to buy from Running Back Records RIGHT NOW!