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“Nine Types of Light” is the fifth album by a truly talented band, who recently lost long-term multi-instrumental member Gerard Smith. If you haven’t heard of TVOTR by now then it’s probably time to reassess what you use as your sources for finding new music.

The album ironically opens with “Second Song” because it doesn’t come second chronologically or in terms of quality. TVOTR haven’t mucked around here, they have moved straight into a multi-layered, multi-faceted song which have a bit of everything on it, synth, sax, effective backing “oohs” which all contribute to produce a killer song without ever over powering the sound.

“Keep your Heart” is yet another beautiful TVOTR track which continues the theme of using whatever instrument required to get the sound just right, clapping, more backing oohs or electronically produced sounds. There is no drastic changes to the classic TVOTR sound on this album and it is used to full effect on “No Future Shock”. The song builds elegantly to a climatic chorus (get your mind out of the gutter) and using the horns to great effect.

“Killer Crane” slows the pace of the album right down with a wandering vocal which grows and has too many elements that I can’t begin to describe it without disrespecting the song. Just when you think that you have heard the best of what TVOTR have to offer they drop “Will Do” in your lap with all of its balanced beauty and power. If you don’t like this song then you should consider getting your hearing checked or consider major oral replacement surgery, no its by no means excessive.

“New Cannonball Run” pulls the album in a more electro direction with a heavy synth sound, which provides a platform for a vocal exchange (duet sounds insulting) which is full of toe-tapping energy that flows into “Repetition” which I must say is really poorly named. You can call TVOTR a lot of things but not that. Ok so maybe he does repeat the word around 25 times towards the end of the song, but it works.

Listening to a TVOTR album, much like writing a review of one, requires a lot of dedicate. On both accounts I feel that the input required is well rewarded. At first listen I am constantly trying to understand the concept of their songs, but it doesn’t take long before the album and its endless energy take over your musical world. The song writing is meticulous and controlled to the point that every song feels inviting and effortless in execution. The guitars often feel secondary in the layering of the songs however they repeatedly deliver punch and timely energy.

ALBUM RATING: Contender for AOTY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeL3XIWBvdc

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Finally. With much anticipation and feeling very nervous about what I was going to hear, the second album from The Wombats was before me. I had already heard “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)” and knew that the much-loved harmonies that were prevalent throughout the first album were on the way out, which was to be expected.

The album kicks off with “Our Perfect Disease” which makes it very clear that these boys have moved on since 2007. It’s a dark way to kick off an album and reintroduced a few of the tools that were really effectively use on Guide. Lyrically, you can feel the anguish in this song with “I need you” being a resonating through the song.

“Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)”, which I first heard somewhere around July last year, should require no introduction to ‘Bats fans. Following from OPD, it feels as though you are waking up the next day after something tragic. When I first heard this track I wasn’t a huge fan, but now it has a real familiarity to it which does assist in getting acquainted with this album. It is quite heavy on synth however it does this in a professional manner and the song possesses good balance.

The darker side returns with “Jump into the Fog” and the song possesses a very gloomy feel, with the keys that are being used and as the song progresses the vocal contrasts well off it, while maintaining that angsty feel that ruled “Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation”. This is a real deep song from a band who were all about pop and the fears of teenagers only 4 years ago. The drumming on this song is much more involved than on their debut which was a lot more vocal centric. The sound used with the keyboards gives that musty feel of fog horns across a bay that provide a strong backdrop for the optimism that grows through the vocal trying to find a way out. It is obvious that this stage that this release is the yang to the debut albums yin in terms of mood.

The violins that open “Anti-D” have a very morbid feel to them especially of the back of Fog. As I try to comment on this song I can only think one thing…..wow. This is not at all what I expected while day dreaming about this album. Someone must have been constantly chewing on prozac while writing this track to get the feel just right. By this point it is quite evident that these guys are determined to drop the pop rock tag, however, I get the feel that this may not convert into chart success, but then that’s only one of many reasons to write an album. “Last Night I Dreamt…” follows this and makes no attempt to change the tone of the album. Not my favourite song on the album, yet it warrants its place providing the ebb and flow of emotion that rolls through the album with a release of confused feelings, “I tend to cry in a room full of laughter”.

“Techno Fan” is oddly named and it is not at all what you might expect, I pictured a funny song making fun of techno fans, but it actually turns out to be an enjoyable little pop song. Not too far removed from their debut album in terms of the techniques that they have employed, although in this instance the backing vocal being implemented seems to be feminine to work with the softer feel of the synthesizers. Unfortunately, I don’t like the use of synth as much on “1996” which I really don’t understand, it sounds a little too boy-band mainstream in parts.

By the time the intro of “Walking Disasters” comes around I am starting to get over the electro sound a little. Just when you are thinking that it is over it returns through the chorus, there are elements of this song that are enjoyable and it could have done with a little more work and a stronger chorus. “Girls/Fast Cars” is full of background noises which I find are not contributing to the song which disappear as the song progresses and it feels a little Muse inspired with the sci-fi feel. “Schumacher the Champagne” ends the album in an odd tone leaving the listener a little confused as to the two sides of the album, the dark and gloomy and the last few tracks which kinda just happen and drop any mood that was built.

This album makes you want to crawl under your doona (duvet/comforter, I make no excuse for being Aussie) and find a reason to feel sorry for yourself. The album feels like a journal of what seems to have been not the standard rise to fame for a group of young lads hitting the big time. It full of anguish and emotion and the most grim album I have heard in a long time. Having said this there is a real beauty and elegance to the songs, it’s just too bad it just doesn’t carry it for the full ten tracks.

ALBUM RATING: Very different/dark output from a very versatile band, worth the wait

OK so yeah this was released over a year ago, but I kinda missed this one even though I was familiar with many of the tracks through the radio. Two Door Cinema Club bring a big electro/rock pop sound that has drawn a lot of comparisons since their debut album with their primary tool of choice being lots of energy.

The album opens with a very Bloc Party inspired twaggy intro that develops further into “Cigarettes in the Theatre” with enough punch to leave you with a nice shinner. The drumming beat is quite simple but it ensures that the song never lets up and provides the base which allows for contrasting tempo as the song develops. The vocal which doesn’t stray too much through the album, is quite boyish or feminine and is not off-putting and reminds me of Phoenix lead singer Thomas Mars.

For a band who have only one album to their credit they immediately follow-up with another big pop song “Come Back Home” which is very easy to identify with as it is loaded with more pop beats and flowing vocals. At first listen you might be tempted to think that a young band is trying to make a name for themselves with a couple of singles on a front loaded album but this never develops. “Do You Want It All” has skip me written across its face with a very predictable sound and feel, however it provides a change in tempo for what is a very up tempo album. Don’t be fooled though cause this song changes pace and is bouncing off the walls before you know it. With the introduction of “This is the Life” quickly following I find myself pushing this album away, however this song sits on the border of Cheese Town.Depending on my mood decides whether I consider it to be an inhabitant or not.

This is quickly forgotten though. “Something Good can Work” follows and is such a fun, drag your woman to the dance floor tune that is over almost by the time you get there, but that is ok because you can just stay there for “I Can Talk” and work on your robot dancing and watch her return to her seat as you bounce around like a tool. This song shows of the guitar driven side of the band which to me is the strength of the band who fall back on electro sounds to fill in the gaps.

By the time “Undercover Martyn” reaches your ears, you think that you have seen all that TDCC have to offer, but these guys have energy in their sound. The sound is a little one dimensional, but having said that, it works. “What you Know” proves this by providing a platform for Trimble’s gentle vocal which is a perfect fit for the general sound of the band, which is light and fluffy. The song rolls and gains momentum until it reaches the point where it is firmly stuck in your head.

The back-end of the album continues with much of the same rush that the remainder of the album just left with. This could easily be cut back in order to make the album tighter, given their sound they shouldn’t be trying to put out double albums, more love me and leave me nine track numbers. There are some borderline forgettable songs here, I am looking at you “Kids” while they aren’t horrible they just don’t add to the album.

“I Can Talk” has to be one of the catchiest and fun songs of 2010. This has to be pretty close to what musical heroin must be like, as the song ebbs and flows it ends but holding you in its arms and then dropping you onto the dance floor. Having said this, it is hard to decide by the end which song is your favourite as there are quite a few strong tracks here to the point that I always worry about young bands and whether they should hold on to one or two to ensure they don’t become one hit wonders. This is a really enjoyable album which could liven up a funeral, however every time I listen to it I worry what their second album will be. TDCC could easily get into bed with the wrong producer and cut back on the guitars which I have seen all too often to the detriment of bands.

ALBUM RATING: LSD in musical form

Looks like someone is cutting back on their budget:

http://www.nme.com/news/arctic-monkeys/56245#1

Died yesterday due to lung cancer

Splendour in the Grass have annouced the line up for 2011 and yes I am a little late but better late than never. Essentially music festivals live and die by their headline acts and this year I am not sure that they have got it right with Coldplay, Kanye and Jane’s Addiction. I don’t think that these acts are going to affect the number of punters at the festival, if anything they will probably attract more. The great thing about SITG was that it was about Indie music and have never really gone towards mainstream acts. I’ll leave JA alone here because they obviously belong, surely they would have been better served bringing more big name Indie acts instead of  the local ones that you can see every other Tuesday at the local pub and 1 or 2 main stream artists, especially since it is now a 3 day festival.

http://splendourinthegrass.com/#

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I first stumbled upon Lykke Li on the first Twilight soundtrack which personally I thought was an amazing compilation with some fantastic artists, yet I never managed to convince anyone that it was any good. Her track “Possibility” was just so beautiful, dark and haunting at the same time, showed immense depth beyond her years.

I hate to say that the talents of Lykke will be somewhat lost on the young female audience who generally hoard towards any act with a female vocalist and don’t look forward to seeing her live.

The album title aided by the artwork is somewhat misleading. I initially had the impression that this would be a dark and emotional musical experience, yet this could not be further from the truth. This album has a more mainstream sound than I expected, yet is still quite an enjoyable listen.

“Youth Knows No Pain” sets the tone early with a nice short pop track to open the album. There are a lot of elements with some nice keys, percussion and strong vocals overlapping to provide a solid entrance to the album. “I Follow Rivers” continues off the quality pop sound with a really catchy and addictive sound that grows every time you listen to it. It is the signature track in a sense for this album as you can enjoy it at a fun, pop song yet it is also much deeper if you are so inclined. This is definitely one of the best songs out there from the first half of the year.

“Love out of Lust” turns towards the deeper, heartfelt side that I was expecting from this album. It is slower and softer than the previous songs and really shows off Lykke’s gentle, almost girlish voice.

“Unrequited Love” is probably never going to be my favourite track on this album. It really doesn’t sell the vocal even with a stripped back sound, having said that though the backing vocals are quite enjoyable and save the track before it starts getting on my nerves.

“Get Some” is a song that has me listening to the lyrics trying to figure out what the song is about (I have read them and yeah, let’s leave it at that). It’s a good little pop track if you are able to separate yourself from the lyrics and just enjoy the song. The song shows off some nice percussion and that familiar floating vocals. Like the other up beat tracks on the album, it really has addictive qualities which flow from the brilliant use of the vocal as the primary instrumental sound through the song and very abstract drumming. By this stage I seem to have forgotten what I had wanted from this album and am really hooked.

The keyboard sound that leads into “Rich Kids Blues” seems in vogue of late and really reminds me of something by the Arctic Monkeys, of their Humbug days. Despite this, the song goes in a very different direction and stays away from a darker sound. “Sadness is a Blessing” is another song title that suggests something hauntingly beautiful yet seems not to even attempt to deliver on the promise. Using an intriguing drum-kit sound and a very simple piano as backing. This song seems to attempt to pull at the heart-strings but it’s just too fast paced and the vocal has too much warmth which is very confusing. Once again, I find myself forgetting the lyrics and just enjoying the music as it misses the mark to a degree.

“I Know Places” brings you back to where “Youth Novel” left off, with a very bare and gentle acoustic sound supported by a male backup vocal which really gives the first taste of that heart-felt sound that I was waiting for. This is the highlight of the album as the songwriting never tries to do too much and allows the song to flow with little effort. The song transitions into an instrumental piece which flows on beautifully from the first part of the song. This is exactly what I had hoped for from this album and it continues with that warm tone on “Jerome” which takes a move in a more up tempo direction, with more some interesting electronic sounds that keep folding back through the track and reflects well off the vocal.

Percussion is a key element to this album and it’s no surprise that the closing track “Silent My Song” features an entrance that is heavy in industrial sounding drumming machine. I really love this kind of pop music and I keep using that word, however this will never tear down the charts. It’s just not the kind of thing that would ever sell in the States, which for me is great as I don’t have to have it ruined by the shopping mall radio which I think is probably still playing Kings of Leon on loop. I could rant on all day about this album, but really just go and listen to it cause it’s a ripper. Watch this space, because I think this young lady is about to take over the indie scene.

ALBUM RATING: Brilliant pop album displaying a very unique vocal

No surprises here. Arctic Monkeys are continuing on that dark and easier paced vibe of “Humbug”. Nice rock track, not really going to blow your socks off though, me reckons.

Not too sure on the lyrics though, they are one part that you must admit have de-evolved since the “Whatever people say….” days.

Well, well, well. Isn’t this interesting, someone has apparently got their hands on the poster for Splendour this year and isn’t there some interesting name there. The big question though is whether this is legitimate or a dud? A few of those band names were already ones that I was thinking would be likely visitors for this years Splendour which gives it some credibility.

What makes this very unbelievable are two names, Radiohead and Kanye. Both would be a really difficult act to pull in terms of budgeting and venue size. Having said this, in the favour of this happening is that Radiohead are a band that could be convinced to take a pay cut. They are generally not a band governed by the rupee or maybe I am just looking for excuses for them to visit our shores.

Having said that though, I do believe that there is some truth to this. In this day and ago it is not all that difficult for an individual to knock up a poster and I get the feeling that someone  may have got their hands on the  real deal and messed about with it. Why? Don’t ask me, but there are a lot of nutters out there.  Bands like The Vaccines, Birds of Tokyo, Sparkadia, The Jezabels, The Decemberists and Gotye would be bigger surprises if they didn’t show than if they did. The person who has done this has clearly put in a fair amount of work, cause putting together the artwork, as well as a list of Bands that long while checking each bands availability would be quite time consuming.

Either way, I think its going to be a fake, but gives a good idea of what to expect for the 2011 lineup. Just don’t let it get your hopes up too high.

http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/forum/showthread.php?p=612087#post612087

 

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