Archive for the ‘Record Reviews’ Category

No Age ‘Nouns’ Review

July 8, 2008

  

You can find this review in this months issue of State magazine on page 80. The one with Interpol on the cover. Enjoy…… 

 

No Age

‘Nouns’ 

5/5

Fans of art rock bands, such as the experimental delights of Deerhoof, will be enthralled by this splice of uncontrived good time rock and roll coming to us via downtown Los Angeles creative hub, The Smell.

The Smell serves as a punk/rock music venue, performance art space, gallery and library and vegan snack bar which has cultivated some damn fine bands, amongst which No Age are duly included.

The duo, guitarist and drummer, Dean Spunt and Randy Randall create experimental art rock with skuzzy distortion laden guitars as loud as Sonic Youth and manage to encapsulate what it is to be young and ecstatic. They can do intelligent art rock, such as on ‘Eraser’ where the guitars and distortion twirl out of control, and on the explosive ‘Cappo’, but behind this initial exterior you can also hear another layer- one of fun-fueled punk/rock. ‘Here should be my Home’ is brilliant in it’s Ramones-esque simplicity. It’s repetitive refrain ‘’Jump on the tube/ Just to see you/My Heart’s in a tunnel baby/ What can I do?’ captures youthful exuberance and will have you jumping around your room like you were 16 again gurning like the kids moshing to their shows in the artwork and pressing the repeat button.

No Age go about their business in a decidedly independent and commendably old school way. They have built their reputation locally, rather than through a network of networkers on MySpace. 

And in an age when album artwork is a dying art, No Age also take a nostalgic view. Nouns features a booklet of 60 pages which gives us a window into Los Angeles art/rock scene The Smell and it’s frequenters have created. There are pictures of battered amps, The Smells backstage room, a decrepit bridge downtown and the local vegan shop which all add up to the ‘small town feel’ and localization rather than globalization. Indeed such is the intimacy of the artwork, we can almost smell The Smell!

And as the album progresses, you realize that No Age are doing something that the hyper-commercialization of the music business has managed to suck out of bands- they’re having fun. Let’s join the party. 

-Tia Clarke

If you hadn’t guessed from the above review, this record rules! Go out and get it post haste! As well as making great music, No Age also have a really cool cult band t-shirt which I wouldn’t mind getting my mitts on!

Check it  —–> 

 

 

 

 

New Music…

May 27, 2008

Warp’s latest wonderboy…


Along with the pile of (mostly uninteresting ) CD’s I had to review last month along came an intriguing album by the largely unknown Flying Lotus entitled ‘Los Angeles’. Within the first few minutes I was hooked, Flying Lotus posses a boundless imagination and produces some space age hip hop infused with electronica.  


Here’s some background on the wonderboy… ‘Fly Lo’, as he is affectionately known by critics and fans, released an album, 1983, in 2006, signed to Warp in 2007 and followed by the ‘Reset’ EP last year which included bootleg remixes of everyone from Kellis to Mr. Ozio. He studied film in his hometown of Los Angeles- which is evident in the visual landscapes Fly Lo creates within his music. His Aunt is none other than the legendary, Alice Coltrane and his grandmother, Marilyn Mcloed was a songwriter for Motown and produced some of Diana Ross and Micheal Jacksons work. 

He’s playing a few festivals this summer, including Mantua, in Co Roscommon, on the August bank holiday weekend. 

You can keep up to date with all things Fly and Lo at: http://www.myspace.com/flyinglotus, which I would strongly advise!

Here he is in action with ‘Riot’. There are no videos yet, but the music makes up for it. 

And here’s my review of ‘Los Angeles’ which will appear in next months issue of State Magazine. http://www.state.ie/

 

Flying Lotus

‘Los Angeles’

4/5

 

It seems ‘Warp’ are on the money again with their latest signing, Introducing Flying Lotus, a soulboy from LA who mixes hip-hop and bleeding edge dance music to create some exhilarating other worldly sounds. On ‘Los Angeles’ Fly Lo (as he’s known by his homies) wanted to create a ‘visual narrative’ of life in LA. It’s comes as no surprise to learn that he spent his formative years as a film student, the seventeen tracks here play like the soundtrack to a film which captures both the glitter and grime of LA life. The scope is so infinite it would be hard to break it down for you, but suffice to say that Fly Lo has access to a monumental record collection and that no other artist has touched upon so many genres since DJ Shadow. His imagination and producing are both boundless and mouthwateringly creative. We are treated to lush analog waves, gritty distortion, grooving breakdowns, pounding bass and electronics are so ambient, it sounds as if they have been somehow passed through water.

Flying Lotus is an album of our times, which could only have been created in 2008. It is a sign of our both our ever expanding musical Palette and the speed a which we want our music delivered- the songs are presented at a breakneck pace, barely leaving the listener with time to breathe and digest the million beats per second they have just taken in. Sit back, enjoy and let the beats wash over you.

– Tia Clarke

Record Review

April 25, 2008

This is a record review I did for the May issue of State Magazine. 

Needless to say I didn’t like it…

The Young Knives

‘Superabundance’

 Third album by English geek indie rockers, whereby they find themselves having achieved critical acclaim but don’t appear happy with said success. Singer, Henry Dartnall (which let’s face sounds more like a member of the English landed gentry than a rock star) redefines his previous convictions, as showcased on Terra Firma ‘I took a long hard look at everything I thought/there was a lot to see/but still I wanted more’. He reaches the hopeless conclusion ‘What’s the point?’

The frantic ‘Up All Night’ is laudable indie rock indie rock by numbers and the lyrics ‘cause everybody looks famous/and they’ve been wasting lots of time/everybody feels special tonight’ reek of yet more desperation and disillusionment.

Christ, by song four (‘On Counters’) poor old Henry’s contemplating suicide: ‘Sitting on the front seat/turning on the motor/sucking on the hosepipe/keep it turning over’. If a band are going to depress me, I’d rather they did it with a bit more imagination- give me Radiohead anyday!

The rest of the album plods along inconsequently, just more of the same ‘la la la’ choruses and obligatory handclaps. Perhaps with the exception of the darkly brooding ‘I Can Hardly See Them’ which features distortion laden guitars and pounding drum beats.

The Young Knives are, I suspect part of the new wave of ‘English Eccentrics’ (and with a bassist called ‘House of Lords’ my suspicion is only confirmed)

but they don’t pull it off with either the style or wit of their many of their contemporaries, such as British Sea Power.

In conclusion, their stop start indie clichés are fine to shake your fringe to at the latest indie disco whilst posturing, but it doesn’t really go past that. But then again, maybe that’s all you were looking for.