Monday, 26 October 2009

Live Review: Phoenix, Birmingham Academy 2, 24/10/2009

I arrive at the Birmingham Academy in the worst mood I’ve been in for some time, a result of the early show time (6:00!), Birmingham’s labyrinth road system and some over-zealous security staff who had helpfully barricaded off the entrance to the venue.

Once inside my frustration is somewhat appeased by the lovely Chairlift, Bruises (you know, from the iPod ads) is particularly nice. But all their efforts are undone by some infuriatingly slow bar service.

With overpriced Danish lager in hand, I shuffle to the front of the small room.

I am ready to hate the night’s main performance, hate everyone around me and go home in a huff.

Then Phoenix wander on stage looking as cool as ever and my foul mood is forgotten before they reach chorus of their first song Lisztomania. Perhaps a liberal prescription of French pop would make the world a better place. Phoenix-mania anyone?

If you thought starting with Lisztomania (easily one of the year’s best songs) was an ambitious move you would be right, but Phoenix have so many great songs that it works. Older tracks such as Long Distance Call and Run Run Run only sound better played next to newer gems like tracks Lasso and Girlfriend.

Just as it does on their latest album, Love Like A Sunset is the centre piece tonight. Part I provides a nice break from the action during which I take the chance to wipe the sweat from my brow before Part II and its body melting low bass note welcomes the second half of the show which starts proper with Too Young.

On Rome, singer Thomas Mars stands high at the front of the stage singing “Rome, Rome, Rome, Rome, ... something about the coliseum”, before closing the set with digitised vocals and self congratulations on Funky Squaredance.

After a minute or so of cheering, Phoenix are (of course) back for an encore which starts with the acoustic Love For Granted and If I Ever Feel Better. The last song for the night is 1901 during which Mars climbs down from the stage and pushes his way into the audience, coming to a stop right in front of me and my delighted other half as he thanks the crowd for sharing their Saturday night with the band.

No Thomas, thank you. I’m in the best mood I’ve been in for some time.

Love For Granted:

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Two great free live releases this weekend

Spooky Fever Ray download

Back in March, one half of The Knife Karin Dreijer Andersson released a solo album under the name Fever Ray.

The self-titled album is one of the year’s best, full of claustrophobic electronic-pop songs that blend into each other so well that it almost finishes before it begins, leaving you reaching for the repeat button.

Fever Ray have performed the album’s tracks at some 50 shows, all of them reported to be among the most disturbing of recent years. Venues were completely filled with dry ice, through which you could vaguely make out eerie figures on the stage: a deeply sinister clown, someone dressed as a kind of insect.

This weekend, a recording of one of these shows has been made available to readers of The Guardian.

Guardian “readers” can download the album from

Crowd sourcing a Nine Inch Nails show

On August 23rd, Nine Inch Nails performed their self-hate masterpiece The Downward Spiral live in its entirety for the first time ever.

While the band were unwilling to pay the venue’s exorbitant fees to have the performance professionally recorded, they were able to negotiate an open camera policy, meaning fans could film the show themselves using anything from a mobile phone to hi-def video camera.

Almost as soon as the show ended, fans started using the forums and quasi official NIN fan sites NIN Hotline and to hunt out and compile footage from all who attended. Now only two months later, a polished multi-cam edited downloadable DVD of the full Webster Hall performance has appeared.

Forget crowd surfing - crowd sourcing is the new thing to do at rock concerts.

You can download the DVD from or stream the YouTube channel here.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

More on that Bloc Party Split

With the band planning an extended break Bloc Party drummer Matt Tong suggested that following their current Bloctober tour he may be finished with music
"Unfortunately that is going to be it for the time being, ... I don't know, I wouldn't mind trying something else for a while."
Bloc Party or no Bloc Party, Tong doesn’t thinks we will be hearing more from the rest of the band.
"Kele is an insatiable workaholic and creating is something he is so connected to so you'll definitely hear from him again along with Russell and Gordon also."
You can hear the whole interview on BBC’s Subculture or read more excerpts on the BBC 6 Music News website.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Watch Blur in Lego Rock Band

Woo Hoo, other Lego artists to appear in Lego Rock Band game include David Bowie, Iggy Pop and hopefully the Michael Gondry directed White Stripes.

See Editors in Google Street View

It seems that those privacy invading Google street view cars have gone and caught more than smoking teenagers, bicycle crashes and sex shop customers.

Editors have hacked their own version of street view allowing fans to travel the streets of London looking for secret locations while listening to tracks from their new album In This Light And On This Evening.

I suggest visiting St Marks Church, Lambeth, England, United Kingdom (3. Papillon)

Bloc Party to Split?

Bloc Party have cancelled tonight’s Newport show for medical reasons, but is there something more sinister going on?

Speaking to the BBC the Bloc Party drummer Matt Tong has suggested that after three albums the band might be calling it quits.

We wait further news from the Bawley favourites.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Horchata: New Vampire Weekend

Earlier today the Vampire Weekend site started counting down, counting down to what no one knew some of the more interesting guesses were (via Stereogum):
Paul SImon vs. Vampire Weekend showdown

Their limited addition Vampire Weekend Boat Shoes go on sale.

The exact minute the new LL Bean catalog rolls off the press?

The announcement of another countdown which (after a few weeks) will lead to the revelation of two new albums: Vampire Weekend Rising and Vampire Weekend: Peace Walker.

A free mp3 of the first single!!!!
The clock hit 00:00:00 and all has been revealed: Yes, it is a free mp3 taken from their next album.

Head to to download your copy