Monday, 22 December 2008

Happy Winter Solstice

I'm not much of a one for Christmas records. Much of the nonsense we get thrown at us is utter shite in my opinion. There aree of course notable exceptions. The mighty collection from Sufjan Stevens (six albums worth) is excellent, Springsteen's 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' is brilliant too.

My favourite though is the Christmas album by Duluth Minnesota's finest (no not Bob Dylan). Low have been producing superb material for about 13 years now and in 1999 they released an album of Christmas songs. It included several of their own songs and several cover versions including this fabulous version of 'Little Drummer Boy' which was used by GAP in a Christmas advertising campaign. I think it is wonderful.

Have a great Christmas and New Year.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Beware Of Safety ~ Dogs

For all its faults sometimes Myspace is pretty bloody wonderful. I have been introduced to some wonderful music via its pages. Stephanie Casey, who plays under the moniker of Fall of Snow is one (I'll return to her at some point in the future) that blew me away with her beautifully fragile and sparse sound. My favourite though is a band who wrote to me asking me to have a listen to their stuff (presumably because I had listed such acts as Mogwai, God Is An Astronaut and Mono as favourites).

I was hooked from the start and that very evening sent away for their debut ep 'It Is Curtains'. I've said before that I don't really like the phrase 'Post Rock' it is meaningless to me and doesn't express what the music is about, but if there has to be such a genré then Beware of Safety are right at the top of the tree along with Mono for me. Their music is exhilarating, vibrant, loud and passionate and their second release 'Dogs' ticks all the boxes and although it was only released this month is my favourite album of the year.

The album kicks off with 'Nu Metal' which floats along with layered guitars and fabulous drumming and then explodes, in fine 'Post Rock' tradition, into a whirling dervish finish. It is quite breathtaking and is one of the best 10 minutes you could hope to spend.

'The Supposed Common' kicks off with a lovely pizzicato refrain. Too many bands in the genré use strings these days in a lazy way and in is refreshing to see them used in a different way. Here is an early version of the track from Youtube.

There is plenty of good old fashioned wig outs on the album which is great but Beware Of Safety are far more than that. They are thoughtful and melodic and carry you away with the beauty of their music.

Although they haven't toured the UK yet I know the band are keen to do so and I for one will be first in the queue for tickets.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Guilty Pleasures # 1

Those that know me are aware that I am an embittered Indie Kid who despises the polished pop bollocks that we are fed by MTV/Radio One etc. True I do seek music out from other genres and love Jazz and Nothern Soul, Funk, Hippy stuff from the Sixties and Seventies and so on and so on.

In fact my music tastes are somewhat eclectic. However like most music snobs (and I am definitely one of those) I do have guilty pleasures. My girlfriend, for example, shook her head in disbelief when I admitted a love for The Carpenters and of course there is no denying that Abba knocked out some top tunes as well. Here though is a a record that although it ticks all the polished pop boxes is just so bloody good that I don't even think it a guilty pleasure.

After all, you can't get better than a bit of Kylie if the mood requires a bit of perfect pop.