Monday, 23 January 2012


Kasabian have come a long way since the first time they were branded as “lad rock”.  It’s not something which could have been argued at the time really, they supported Oasis on tour, swilled lager and slated just about every other band that were in competition at the time.  Their 2004 debut, self-titled album was hugely successful and had an electronic infused alternative rock sound, helping them gain status in the British music industry.  Since then, however, their albums have varied slightly from that and none more so than their latest project “Velociraptor”.
 The album itself still contains that trademark Kasabian, electronic rock sound but also, through most of the album, has a psychedelic sound which has become prominent in a lot of the band’s work in recent years.  The album overall is a lot less frantic and somewhat calmer than the previous 3.
 Opening track “Let’s roll just like we used to” is cool and understated and sets the tone well for the rest of the album. The opening sequence to this song has a somewhat Mexican yet psychedelic vibe which would not have sounded out of place in “Desperado”.  This is definitely one of the album highlights which could have been released as one of the singles from Velociraptor.  The first tracks released were titled “Switchblade Smiles” and “Days are forgotten” (arguably two of the worst tracks from the whole album).  “Switchblade Smiles” slightly pushes the boundaries from electronic-a, even for Kasabian, and almost verges into an 80s synthesiser sound in the opening.  “Days are forgotten” isn’t a bad track, just not the best on the album.  The track starts off well but the chorus is slightly disappointing.
Serge Pizzorno takes lead vocals for “Acid Turkish Bath”, arguably one of the best yet most underrated songs on the full album.  He also steps up for “La Fee Verte”, another personal favourite and by far the most mellow and psychedelic sound on the whole album.  The song even contains the lyrics “I see Lucy in the sky, telling me I’m High” a reference to Beatles track “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” which was famed for its psychedelic sound.
This album shoes that 7 years on, Kasabian are still as passionate, talented and dedicated to the cause as they were on “Kasabian”.  It feels like the boys have established a trademark sound and manage to interpret it into each album, while still finding ways to make each album stand out individually.  Some of the tracks are instant successes while others are definite growers but fans of Kasabian will most definitely have this album on repeat.

Talihina Sky

Talihina Sky is the first documentary of its kind for Kings of Leon.  It is the first time the band have allowed the cameras to film them in their most raw and honest form - drinking, taking drugs, with their family/lovers - and then show it worldwide.  Not only this but they allowed the producers to delve deep into their past and show fans and critics alike what the past twenty-plus years have been like for the devoutly religious Followill family.  The documentary goes back to Talihina, Oklahoma in South America - where Nathan, Caleb, Matthew and Jared were born and raised together.
The documentary is based around a reunion in Talihina where they are granted time off from their hectic band lifestyle to see family and friends back home (FYI, some very interesting characters in these here parts).  This reunion allows us the opportunity to see the boys' friends and family be interviewed honestly about the boys’ past, what they were like as children and what they are now like as adults.  Aside from this the producers have used candid footage - old and new - allowing us to see the band as the most genuine versions of themselves.
The whole documentary itself is largely based on and referent to religion - their Dad Ivan was a Pentecostal Church preacher and Mum Betty-Ann, a devout follower - and how this has always played a large part in their lives as children and now, as grown men.  Anyone who knows of Kings of Leon knows that the boys grew up in a devout household, where they were forbidden to listen to "Devi's music" (aka Rock and Roll).  So the chance to see them speak openly about it is not one to be missed.
As the older two of the foursome, Caleb and Nathan decided to form a rock band and took younger brother Jared and younger cousin, Matthew on board as bass and lead guitar players, respectively.  The boys' parents were,, of course, unhappy about this initially and made it no secret that they thought the boys were "selling their soul to the devil" by indulging in a hedonistic lifestyle and playing rock music. 
Throughout the documentary, and particularly in the final scene, it seems that Caleb, more so than the others, is in turmoil over his decision to turn his back on the Pentecostal church and decide instead that "rock'n'roll was his religion" (as he once declared in a 2010 interview).  The final scene shows Caleb in a late-night candid interview, clutching a bottle of Jameson and speaking openly about his feelings of confusion on whether he should, like his father, be a preacher.  He also speaks here of his guilt to turn his back on the church and pursue his dream.  It's an extremely honest interview where he speaks openly about the self-indulgent lifestyle the boys have enjoyed and his reasons for eventually turning his back on the church (They found out a young age their Father was an alcoholic - of course forbidden for a preacher).
The most humbling thing about this documentary is how honest and open it is.  It allows the world to see into their lives and speak honestly about their poor and strict upbringing.  There's also something very refreshing and grounding about watching a stadium sell out, multi-platinum selling, worldwide famous band go back to their roots, have no heirs or graces about them for a week and live life as normally as they knew how to back in Talihina.
A definite must see for any fan.

Suck It And See

Compiled mostly of love songs - one can only guess these were written with Alex Turner’s then girlfriend, Alexa Chung, in mind - Suck It and See varies hugely from each of the band’s three previous studio albums.  Gone are the days of Turner’s punchy, insulting lines and his strong Sheffield twang.  Make way now for a new Artic Monkeys – who wear leather with their hair in 1950s “Teddy boy” style.  The band have mellowed somewhat and this is obvious from the sound on their latest album. 
Suck It and See is arguably one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year.  It did not disappoint.  Their previous album, Humbug released in 2008, was a far cry from their usual sound and was not received as well as the others by fans.  These fans were now eager to hear what the boys’ sound would be like this time around.  Boy, were they in for a treat. 
“Brick by Brick” was released in March of this year, almost 3 months before the release of the album.  Turner stands down at this point and drummer Matt Helders takes the role of lead vocalist.  For this reason, any self-respecting Monkeys fan would be forgiven for not instantly recognising the band on this track  The next track released from the album was titled ‘Don’t sit down ‘cause I’ve moved your chair’ (this time with Turner reclaiming his mic’).  Again, any fan would be forgiven for not recognising this track as one of the ‘Monkeys own.  This time not because of the vocals but because the sound of the song is so unlike anything they have done before.  Sure it has some flashes of their previous dry wit with lyrics such as: “do the Macarena in the devil’s lair…but just don’t sit down ‘cause I’ve moved your chair”.  But the guitars are heavy and do not sound too dissimilar to a Metallica or Queens of the Stone Age track (no, seriously).
Having said this, these two tracks were not a sign of things to come and definitely the least representative tracks from the album.  Although these two had a gritty, guitar filled sound to them both, what was to come from the remainder of the album was actually pretty mellow.  “Love is a laserquest” and “Suck it and see” are both very melodic and actually quite romantic lyrically.  ‘Reckless Serenade’ and “Hellcat Spangled Shalalala” are festival ready’ and “Library pictures” and “She’s Thunderstorms” make hints and strong reference to the second album, “Favourite worst nightmare”.
All in all, a huge improvement. The band may have lost their original sound that they were loved for but this album makes us forget their mistakes and remember why we loved them before.  With age comes wisdom and one can only guess that the boys are too old to be writing lyrics and singing about pimps and prostitutes now.


  “I wish I had been older in 1991” was the immediate thought I had when watching Primal Scream’s live DVD performance of their 1991 released album, Screamadelica.  That way I could have been a part of musical history.  But I wasn’t old enough; I was only 2 years old.  And at 2 years old, Primal Scream do not, typically, slot into the genre of music you listen to.  However, as the youngest of three, I had an older brother who experienced it first time around and was therefore able to impart some musical wisdom onto me.
20 years later, I am now old enough to appreciate the Screamadelica album and watch it played out live.  Filmed at the London Olympia, November 2011, Bobby and Co. play the album in its entirety, along with a “rock and roll” set compiled of various songs from the band’s other albums.
The set opens on “Movin’ on up” and is followed by “Slip inside this house” which I can’t help but feel are both lacking in the original spirit they were recorded with.  However, on their third track “Don’t fight it, feel it”, Denise Johnson plays guest vocalist and the rest of the band really begin to slip into the rhythm.
The set becomes a little more subdued and relaxed halfway through with Bobby stepping back up to the mic’ and giving us the opportunity to hear his voice on tracks “Damaged”, “I’m coming down” and “Higher than the sun.”  These tracks give us the opportunity to hear Primal Scream doing what they do best, a combination of super “trippy” acid-house and rock music.
The set picks up pace again for penultimate track “Loaded” and “Come Together” makes the perfect closer with gospel choir on the chorus.  The band really feed of the positive energy of the crowd on these final tracks, leaving the set to go out on a high.  
The extra set on the DVD, titled “Rock and Roll” gives the audience the opportunity to see the band step away from their acid-house sound and inject some rock back into their set.  With tracks such as “Jailbird”, “Country Girl” and brilliant “Rocks”, it is definitely an opportunity for the viewer to see how talented and diverse the band have been throughout their long spanning career.

Miles Kane: Glasgow ABC

It had been just over three years since we had heard any new material from Miles Kane when his new album “Colour of The Trap” was released earlier this year.  This was a huge project for Kane as this was his first solo album ever released.  He has always previously had the support of band mates behind him, having been a member of “The Little Flames“, “The Rascals” and most recently “The Last Shadow Puppets” (with Arctic Monkeys front man Alex Turner). He debuted his solo album at the British festivals this summer and embarked on a UK tour at the start of this month and tonight he was in Glasgow.
As the lights dim, the sound system blasts out Pink Floyd’s “On the run”, sending the crowd wild (and this is before Kane has even stepped on stage).   As Kane and his band take to the O2 ABC stage, the crowd burst into chants and screams and jump to the beat, showing a great sense of appreciation for the Liverpudlian singer.
Firing his way through tracks, such as “Colour of the trap”, “Quicksand” and “Rearrange” from the debut album, Miles Kane impresses us all with not only his voice and guitar playing, but his very presence on stage and the way in which he addresses his devout fans.
Throughout the set, he never falters or becomes lazy in his performance.  He maintains the same energy from beginning to end and ensures the crowd maintains the same pace and energy as he does for ultimate gig pleasure.  The crowd’s energy is actually so strong that at one point, on track “Come Closer“, they manage to overpower the upbeat rocker‘s vocals.
When the set draws to a close and Miles leaves the stage, the crowd makes it clear they’re not ready to say goodbye just yet.  Within minutes and encouraged by chants from the crowd, the man himself comes back on stage and bursts into the most upbeat and biggest hit to date, “Inhaler”.  The crowd, not for the first time tonight, goes wild and sends the Liverpudlian onto his next gig on an incredible high.


No one could have predicted the success humble Florence Welch would have had with her band Florence and the Machine’s 2009 debut album “Lungs.”  She scored herself a Grammy from the album and became practically an overnight sensation.  It is for this reason that her follow-up album, Ceremonials was one of the most anticipated albums of 2011.
The flame haired girl from London has one of the most powerful and angelic voices of this generation and that is still as apparent in this album as it was in “Lungs.”  The first and only single to yet be released from “Ceremonials” is titled “Shake it out” and delivers Florence as we know and love her: belting out an anthem-like song at the top of her voice and holding each note pitch perfect.   The first few tracks on the album live up to the high expectations that “Shake it Out” gave us.  “Only if for a Night”, “What the water gave me” and “Never let me go” contain the signature Florence instruments of harp, tambourine, and piano and are some of the more mellow tracks on the album with a gothic inspired feel and a dreamy sound.
“Remain nameless“ hints massively at sounds of British based “The XX“ with an electronic sound, unusual for Drum banging, harp playing Florence and The Machine.  “Breaking Down” sounds unlike Welch at points, both musically and vocally, but deserves as much credit as the others.   “All this and heaven too” sometimes hints at parts of “You got the love” from “Lungs” but this is really one of the only comparisons between the albums which can be made.
The album also offers bonus, demo tracks which allow us to hear Florence stripped back to only an angelic voice, and improvised instruments (think hand clapping and a makeshift bass drum).  These tracks sound just as perfect as the rest of the album.
A truly beautiful album but one which differs hugely from “Lungs” in the sense that this album is a lot mellower and arguably a little harder to listen to as each track is quite similar.  “Lungs” was the type of album a girl could have put on before a night out and had a dance to.  “Ceremonials” is for a tender head the morning after.