Category Archives: Alternative

An Evening with Amanda Palmer

If you ever have the chance to see Amanda Palmer live, go. Even if you’ve never heard of her, go. Even if you’re not sure that you like her music, go. Go for the sake of humanity, for love, for your heart. Last night she took my heart – and everyone else’s – and she poured every essence of her existence into it, nourishing us all, without asking for anything in return.

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A wild Amanda appears. Credit: @andrewabphotography

We all sat huddled on the floor of the children’s section of the Central Library in Liverpool. Every few minutes the ground would rumble, the metro passing by below. Continue reading

Artist Feature: Cosmo Sheldrake

Unique: Cosmo Sheldrake

I have something to confess. Cosmo Sheldrake has had my heart in a Schrödinger Box for a while now, and I want you to know why.

Firstly, his name is entirely legit. More importantly, his music is unlike anything I have ever encountered. Blisteringly fresh, and vociferously zingy, are not words enough to describe his masterpieces in which he combines the out of this world with the down to earth, literally. Take ‘The Fly’, for example, where he used the sounds of solar oscillations recorded over 2 months, sped up 50,000 times, combined with the Aka Pygmy tribe in Central Africa, with a finishing touch of smashing Welsh mountain slates. And because that’s obviously not complicated enough, here he is producing it live on a fishing boat hunting for cuttlefish on the English Channel, or from the back of a horse and cart in Bulgaria. He’s also sampled the cracking bones of a cow carcass, rabid dogs, and the Armenian Duduks. Oh, and because he can he’s also recorded music live in a pig sty, or at a laundrette. I’m not sure that there’s an instrument that he cannot play, I mean, have you ever heard of a sousaphone? I haven’t. He can play 30 different instruments at least. Jealous yet?

I find myself relishing every moment of every song, listening to it over and over, hearing something new each time. Finding relationships between one song and the next, and comparing the nuances. I can’t help myself from clicking and tapping to the beat, and swaying from side to side with a look of concerned enthusiasm across my face.

His other talents include beatboxing, Mongolian throat singing, Tibetan chanting, and making music up spontaneously at live gigs, lyrics and all. Near the end of the concert that I just linked you to (at 49 minutes), he describes how he used the sounds of the Oyster Toadfish and Bucktooth Parrotfish, so that you know that I am not making this stuff up. Often he includes literature by Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear in his music.

He comes across as being humble, impassioned and compellingly creative; in his spare time he teaches and facilitates music workshops and camps. But he also has the time to compose for film and theatre. A lover of nonsense, who knows where he’ll end up next. Definitely keep an ear out though, there are rumours that he will have his first release out in the next month or two, when I am sure that many more hearts will be joining mine in his box.

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2011’s Most Notable Music – A Reflection

As of December 31st, we are officially at the end of 2012. Time flies, eh? Maybe it’s time to check in on what those New Year resolutions were (remember those? Don’t worry, me neither.) Make sure you’re over last year’s ex, and most importantly, make sure you have an arsenal of great new tunes. But, but we’d be reminisce if we didn’t remember all the great music that came last year.

So, true to form, I’m here to showcase what I think were last year’s most notable albums. Note that this list will primarily focus on albums that shy from the mainstream – not to be hipster, but simply to give attention to those who deserve so much more of it.

Now to be clear I hate top ten lists. No one is ever going to agree with your list, and you always end up shafting something that someone feels deserves to be on your list. So, below is a list, not of 2011’s best albums, but in my opinion, the year’s 14 most notable albums. I tried to keep true to the blog, and have something for everybody – some rock, some R&B, some metal, some hip hop, and others. After, is the long list, the also notables that didn’t make the list. There are definitely albums I missed – but while this list doesn’t claim to be a summary of every single good album that came out this year, many of what I feel were the years most enjoyable albums are here. Every album won’t be for everybody, but there is definitely at least one album for everybody (except perhaps dancehall fans,) here. Enjoy.

The 14 Most Notable Albums Of 2011 Continue reading

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50 Most Blogged Songs of 2012

The Hype Machine Logo

The Hype Machine has released its list of the 50 most blogged and favourited songs of the year, and as always, it’s a pretty great list. Some strong trends definitely emerged over the past year. The teaming o alternative bands and singers with house acts was all over – Florence Welch with Calvin Harris, Major Lazer with Amber of the Dirty Projectors, Felix Cartal with Maja Ivarsson all being examples. This was the year EDM get thrown into the mainstream – with Calvin Harris on the radio, and university students everywhere outfitting their wardrobes with various shades of neon. We also saw artists that first gained steam on the blog community spawning massive pop hits, from Gotye to Fun. Dubstep kept chugging on – with Nero and Adventure Club both gracing this list. A new face of rap emerged – and showed in the internet age you don’t have to have an album to make waves with your singles. And lastly, the chill was a strong force – with Poolside, Grimes, and Ellie Goulding covering The Weeknd all making waves. Check the full list below. Continue reading

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2012: The Year of the Comeback

“Don’t call it a comeback/I’ve been here for years.” – LL Cool J.

The comeback album, the album that a band makes to relive their glory one last time. The comeback album is why I bring you this article. Within the past five-ten years, we have seen the comeback of many famous bands of all genres, from A Tribe Called Quest, to Pavement, to Pixies, to Refused and countless more. Along with the reformations of these bands there has come fame and acclaim (as well as a fair amount of money I assume), however the one thing these reformations has lacked is the production of new music, which is something all the fans hope for.

Continue reading

Album Review: The 2nd Law by Muse

The 2nd Law is the sixth album by British rock superstars, Muse. It is their most high-profile, but also their most varied album yet. A lot of the album is quite solid, but there are moments that will leave some of  you scratching your heads and asking ‘Why?’.

Continue reading

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Alternative Roundup #1

There’s been a few really great cuts that have come out recently, so I thought I’d round up a couple of my favourite ones.

Caiman Fu – Volcan Montréal
This track is really fantastic. Upbeat, swirling, and doused with funky trumpet and piano, this one’s a winner. And I don’t even understand the lyrics. Listen/download here.

 

Ryan Francesconi & Mirabai Peart – Road to Palios
This track is the first of the newly minted duo’s upcoming album (Dec. 4th), also named Road To Palios. It’s their take on Balkan folk music, and the album will have a few instrumental tracks – like this one. Simply Ryan playing guitar, and Mirabai playing violin – but the texture and interplay are great. Listen/download here.

 

Stumbleine – The Beat My Heart Skips
This one’s for those who dig the chillwave. Because that word basically describe this track in a nutshell. Soft atmospheric sounds, timid vocals, a little reverb. Listen/download here.

 

Gypsy & The Cat – Bloom
Gypsy & The Cat are a group from Melbourne. This is the first track off their upcoming album, The Late Blue, which will be released on October 19th in Australia. A little synth, a few guitar licks, a driving bass line and a chorus make up this one. here.


Los Jardines De Bruselas – On The Moon (Together)
This one’s for the Bombay Bicycle Club fans. Does it sound like a bedroom experiment? That’s because it is. Los Jardines De Bruselas is Ezequiel de la Parra’s one man Argentinian band. The lyrics are dreamy, fitting the dreamy sound of the track. Listen/download here.

 

Rah Rah – The Poet’s Dead
And back on an upbeat note! Listen man, the poet may be dead, but the poetry’s in your head. Some fine hand claps, vocals, and rock guitar. Listen/download here.

– Zayniac

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Gorillaz, Andre 3000, James Murphy – DoYaThing

The day has come. NEW GORILLAZ!

But not just them. The latest of Converse’s ‘3 Artists, 1 Song’ project, meant to promote Gorillaz co-creator’s new Chucks (check them out here), this track starts off with a little Damon Albarn singing, then James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem joins in, and then a fire verse by Andre 3000. But we expected no less from him. A very worthy substitute until the next Del and Gorillaz collabo.

Download it here.

– Z

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