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Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

The Wait Is Over

London Grammar -If You Wait (Album)

London Grammar are, multi instrumentalist Dot Major; Dan Rothman on guitar & the impressive Hannah Reid on vocals; they have been steadily gaining fans and momentum. Musically wise London Grammar are like nothing in today’s chart which makes them unique, their sound is part Faithless, part chill out/ambient with Reid’s vocals sometimes veering on folk.

A brief recap of London Grammar’s single and EP release history; their first release was the Metal & Dust EP which can be viewed as an album sampler as it included Metal & Dust, Hey Now , Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me and a Dot Major remix of Hey Now. Their second release in June was the sublime Wasting My Young Years which reached No.31. London Grammar recently achieved their biggest hit single to date with Strong reaching No.17 on the official charts.

With a trio of Strong releases – London Grammar finally get around to releasing their debut album, however do they have anything left in reserve and was it worth the wait?

Major and Rothman’s arrangements allow Reid’s vocals to take centre stage. Reid’s vocals are a cross between Florence Welch and Judie Tzuke. Reid could sing a shopping list and she would inject more emotion and expression than most of the singers currently in the charts.

What of the rest of the album, VereViews reckons that both Sights and Flickers would make a good choice for future single releases, both have a little more gusto than Strong. With their growing exposure I would not bet against Metal & Dust and Wasting my Young Years being given a re-release. Check out the Deluxe version of this album for the Disclosure collaboration Help Me Lose My Mind.

If You Wait is a strong debut which is both euphoric and haunting in equal measure. The wait was worthwhile.

VereView Star Rating VVVV/5

VereView Wasting My Young Years

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Check Into Hotel Cabana

Hotel Cabana – Produced & Directed by Naughty Boy

Shahid Khan has collected and directed the top drawer British talent plus Whiz Khalifa to feature on his new album . You may be already familiar with 4 songs as Hotel Cabana is home to Daddy (Remix), Wonder and Lifted all featuring Emeli Sande and the Number 1 hit LaLaLa featuring Sam Smith, but is the rest of Hotel Cabana worth checking in for?

On One Way feat Mic Righteous & Maiday; Maiday sings “What If the very thing that threatens you is the very thing that beckons you” leads into an accessible rap by Mic Righteous. So Strong featuring Chasing Grace is a mid pace grower

One of the highlights on this collection is No Ones Here To Sleep feat Dan Smith from Bastille, the track hints of sinister going ons at the Hotel Cabana; considering it’s a hotel you would expect there to be some sleeping.

With all the creative talent at Naughty Boy’s disposal its puzzling why he should want to include a cover of one the biggest hit singles of the year, although stripped down and classy his take on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky is in my thoughts superfluous

Dan Smith from Bastille , Ed Sheeran,Emeli Sande. Gabrielle, Professor Green, Sam Smith,Tinie Tempah, Wiley, Wretch 32 & Whiz Khalifa are just some of the artists who have checked into Hotel Cabana. Have you made your reservation -it would be Naughty of you not to!

VereView Satr Rating VVVV/5

Hotel Cabana Trailer Part 1

Hotel Cabana Trailer Part 2

Yeezus West

Yeezus

Yeezus (Photo credit: achimh)

Kanye West – Yeezus (Album)

Following on from 2010 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF), Kanye West unleashes his 6th solo album Yeezus. Like on many of his albums Kanye has a list of collaborators on board including Daft Punk , Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, Charlie Wilson and Justin Vernon.

Daft Punk are credited to have written and produced a number of tracks on this album, whilst they have kept the disco party bangers for their own Random Access Memories album, on Yeezus they take Kanye West into deep dark territory, but is Yeezus any good?

On Sight – Kanye spits out “no sports bra lets keep it bouncing” and that’s what this track does over a sprightly electro opener, just don’t listen to the lyrics. Black Skinhead provocative title and a confrontational Kanye spitting lyrics over bleak dark industrial beats – definitely not a song to hum or sing out loud to!

On I Am A God something tells me that Kanye is having a rant about the media with the lines “Soon as they like you make em unlike you, Cause kissing people’s ass is so unlike you. New Slaves – another bleak electro track which talks about a bleak subject; racism both in days gone by and the type of racism that is prevalent today.

Blood On The Leaves – probably the most commercial track on the album and uses a speeded up Nina Simone sample, Strange Fruit, to good effect

Bound 2 featuring vocals by Charlie Wilson closes the album, with questionable lyrics with Kanye not wanting to leave a reminder on a girls mink; think Monica Lewinsky

Whilst most rappers are making party/euro trance lite records, Kanye has made the darkest, angriest,deepest rap/hip hop record you’ll hear this decade. Yeezus makes his MBDTF  seem like a Will Smith album.

Yeezus is not for everyone as it is dark, bleak, angry, confrontational, challenging; and at times hard to listen to, however, it is everything that innovative music should be. Is Kanye West a god? probably but only in a recording studio.

VereView Star Rating VVV/5

House Disclosure

Discloure – Settle (Album)

Disclosure consists of the Lawrence Brothers, Howard & Guy, on their debut album Settle the vocals are handled by a number of artists some of whom are just coming to the publics attention such as Sam Smith, Jessie Ware & London Grammar.

2013 so far has been a good one for Dance Acts, with Daft Punk & Rudimental scoring both big hit singles and albums. Can Disclosure follow suit with their debut album Settle?

Settle opens up with a vocal that quite frankly it could do without, then we get exposed to the freshest UK garage and Deep House tunes that you will hear this year. Latch which features Sam Smith who croons “Got you shackled in my embrace. I’m latching onto you.” This song will Latch into your brain and wont let you go, as it did on charts spending 29 weeks in the Official Charts.

F For You is a deceptive track with its repetitive vocal lines, “Because I played the fool for you” and “I have been infected“, these lines latch into your brain as they are driven by a stylistic deep house vibe which sounds like it was aimed at late night dance floors & repetition certainly works with this track

White Noise ft. AlunaGeorge does itself a disservice as there is more than just white noise to this record, an infectious girly vocal over a throbbing techno beat

Settle does have the occasional misfire and the tendency to use what sounds like cut and paste vocals at times does jar a little especially on Grab Her, however the closing 4 tracks on this album surely makes up for that.

You & Me Featuring Eliza Doolittle On paper it seems like an unlikely pairing but it works a treat . January – Featuring Jamie Woon; this song does not evoke January but rather June, July or August but I presume that would have been predictable another deep house number Jamie Woon sings I will suspend your disbelief and he certainly does.

Confess To Me – featuring Jessie Ware – a stand out track on the album with Ware’s vocals lifting this garage track to higher levels. The album closes with Help Me Lose My Mind – feat London Grammar; this is the most mellow track on the album and after nearly an hour of House and Garage comes as light relief.

This is a straight to the dance floor album and for when you are getting ready to go out for a Friday or Saturday rave. Settle already houses 3 top 20 hits, with the possibility of more to come.

VereView StarRating VVVV/5
VereView White Noise

Disclosure – White Noise ft. AlunaGeorge (Official Video)

Disclosure – Latch feat. Sam Smith (Official Video)

Talk About….Texas

TexasThe Conversation (Album)

Sharleen Spiteri & her gang are back with a new album with a familiar sound. Like so many artists they have gone back to what had made them successful. No fancy American executive producers Texas have largely kept the production in-house. This is the tightest and rawest they have sounded in years. Some have commented over the band aping The Pretenders, Debbie Harry & Blondie, but who were they aping? Texas delve straight to the source.

Proceedings kick off with the title track & current single, The Conversation, it is an obvious choice as a first single as it says look Texas are back. It sounds as if Texas have re-discovered the Texas sound, it’s lean & taut, Sharleen’s vocals are both  haunting and confident . The conversation sets the listener up nicely for what’s to follow.

Dry Your Eyes is one of a number of songs that sound heavily influenced by 60’s girl groups. If This Isn’t Real – sounds very much like a Phil Spector track, it brings to mind Then He Kissed Me.

Detroit City is the best of the rockier numbers this track wouldn’t sound too out of place on a Garbage album. I can see this track being a real crowd pleaser. FYI Detroit City is known by other names i.e. Motor City & Motown. Hid From The Light is another up tempo rocking number this is a song that I can imagine Deborah Harry singing.

One of the standout tracks on the album is Be True, this is Texas at their very best. One of the best Motown tracks never to have been recorded by a Motown artist;  if you catch my drft.

Maybe I – whenever a song lyric starts with maybe I , I cant help but singing didn’t love you. Maybe I sees Sharleen in reflective mode, this track could have been written for Elvis Presley.

Big World is their River Deep Mountain High & Proud Mary moment, this sees Texas in playful mode, even the lyrics have a nod and a wink to Proud Mary, “The world keeps on turning trying to find my feet…” This has potential single written all over it.

Listening to the album you cannot help but feel that Texas have been heavily influenced by girl groups of the 60’s the Shangri- Las, The Shirelles & The Crystals to name but a few.

The longest track clocks in at 3.42, these are taut compositions, Texas are not messing around with overlong, over produced numbers, its as if Texas have got rid of the fat and given us nothing but the meat. They have served up a taste of Americana in their own indomitable style and prove to us that they haven’t stopped talking yet.

VereView Star Rating VVVV/5

Scream More Light Please

Primal Scream – More Light (Album)

Primal Scream have certainly given their fans something to get their teeth into on More Light clocking in at just under 70 minutes; they are not afraid to switch genres from almost lounge singer to angry rockers and to psychedelic hippies.

2013 gives their dystopian view of the times, VereView their video below, it clocks in at 9.00 minutes long, however, apart from the elongated ending it keeps you interested with the nagging saxophone hook ingrained in your brain

River of pain – Bobby Gilllespie subdued vocals over a Spanish guitar groove is a thing of beauty- Boy you feel the pain when there’s nothing you can do, you carry it with you refrain is so apt in these austere times. If Bobby Gilllespie is trying to soothe the pain with his vocal delivery then it works for me

Cultercide is Primal Scream in angry mode and Primal Scream have a lot to be angry about, a take on surviving in today’s modern society. Don’t ask for mercy ask for help sings Gilllespie

Goodbye Johnny slows down the pace is slinky and almost lounge. Invisible city – has cross over appeal and more energy than most of the songs in the current top 40 – love this city such a beautiful city. Walking With the Beast has a tripped chill out feel about it.

Its Alright Its Ok, closes the album and sounds like it could have come from the Screamadelica sessions, it is uplifting and. easy on the ear, this is definitely this albums Movin On Up. It’s a pity that there are not a few more tracks like this; as it is worth purchasing the album for this song alone.

Primal Scream on More Light sound like a band energised with loads of ideas, however, More light is not easy to digest in the one sitting because just as you think you have figured it, Primal Scream throw in a curve ball and switch genres.

There is something on this album for anyone who has causally followed and those that have stayed loyal with Primal Scream. This is no Screamadelica Part 2 but More Light is the closest we have come as Bobby Gillispie sings Its Alright, Its Ok

VereView Star Rating VVVV/5

VereView 2013

VereView Its Alright, Its OK

 

 

 

 

The Robots Keep On Giving

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (Album)

Daft Punk have truly gone back into time to the 70’s & 80’s and have brought back Nile Rodgers & Giorgio Moroder with them along with a number of more up to the minute collaborators, but does Random Access Memories live up to all the hype?

The opening track Give Life Back To The Music Featuring Nile Rodgers, starts boldly before turning into a disco stomper, which could have easily appeared on a Chic or a Sister Sledge album

The Game Of Love – starts of slowly it sounds like it could be off any 80’s soul album before the Robots vocals kick in, later on in the album we get Beyond which has a startling opening and then gives way to a tune that sounds very much like I Keep Forgetting but with a robotic vocal.

Giorgio by Moroder feat Giorgio Moroder is Giorgio Moroder speaking about his early days in making music over a funky beat which is not dissimilar to Cerrone’s Supernature. Within feat Chilly Gonzales , slows down the pace, a beautiful ballad with a filtered vocal.

Instant Crush – featuring Julian Casablancas – initially feels like filler until it gets to the chorus when it ups the tempo, but I cannot help feel that this would be better with a straight forward vocal, that apart, this song is lovely

Lose Yourself To Dance featuring Pharrell & Nile Rodgers
Pharrell’s high pitch vocal urging you to lose yourself to dance with the robots pleading c’mon c’mon c‘mon & Nile’s funky guitar, how can one resist?

Touch feat Paul Williams Starts off slow and sounds like a song from a show and then disco kicks in, I don’t know why but I am reminded of Don’t Leave Me This Way whilst listening to this track, this track takes so many twists and turns its hard to keep up. We also get another possible Cerrone reference (If Love Is The Answer) with the Robots asking If love is the answer you must hold on.

There’s not much I can say about Get Lucky which has not already been said but here we get the full version and it sounds better than the single edit, Nile Rodger’s guitar work has never sounded better.

Random Access Memories lives up to its hype -just, it may not be a straight to the dance floor album that many may have expected after Get Lucky, however, there is enough on this album to keep the sales ticking over with each subsequent single release.

Random Access Memories may well be Daft Punk’s Thriller, has anybody noticed that the calligraphy on both albums are similar and on both albums in the top left hand corner.

VereView Star Rating VVVV/5
VereView Daft Punk un boxing Random Access Memories

Remind Yourself Of Alf

The MinutesAlison Moyet (Album)

It has been over 6 years since Alison Moyet’s last studio, 2007- “The Turn“, however, Moyet has returned to electronic based music with “The Minutes“; In Guy Sigsworth, who co-wrote and produced all of the tracks, Moyet has found someone who shares her musical vision.

A lot has been made in the press of Alison’s new svelte figure the fact that she has smashed her gold & platinum discs she had received throughout her career. If these actions are the prerequisite for producing a stunning album then I would suggest that other artists should do the same.

On The Minutes you get a full resume of Moyet’s musical career to the playfulness of the opening track “On Horizon Flame” & Filigree, to the big haunting and dramatic ballads” A Place To Stay “& “Remind Yourself.” On “Apple Kisses”you get the strange concoction of a big ballad, down tempo, dubstep lite track, on paper it sounds a mess but Moyet’s voice handles it with great aplomb. “Love Reign Supreme” starts of like an early Depeche Mode track and then it veers into a surprising but welcome direction.

Earlier this year “Changeling” was released as a free download whilst “When I was Your Girl” is the official lead off single, to me it sounds like they have gone with a safe option, personally I would have flipped it around, you should really check out the Guy Sigworth’s stunning remix of the “Changeling“, I reckon that a full-blown EDM should be next on Moyet’s agenda

With a little fine pruning The Minutes would have gone from a good album to an excellent one.It goes without saying that this is Moyets best album in 20 years

The Minutes is a good reason to “Remind Yourself” of how good Alison Moyet is.

VereView Star Rating VVVV/5
VereView When I Was Your girl

 

Late Night Boots

Little Boots – Nocturnes (Album)

If Little Boots is correct then deep house is the future if not then Little Boots are behind the times, because Little Boots have served up a veritable feast of commercial deep house and disco, together with a few songs which sound a tad dated but with a beefy remix could hit the dance floor if not the charts.

The gestation period of Nocturnes is close to two years as Shake appeared online in November 2011; Everyday I Say A Prayer, one of two collaborations with Andy Butler of Hercules And The Love Affair & probably the best track on the album, appearing online in February 2011.

Broken Record, the current single, is no such thing as it fizzles along nicely, Confusion is reminiscent of Sueno Latino, Beat Beat is a joyful romp of a song and on All For You; Andy Butler takes Little Boots down tempo to good effect.

It’s hard to see where another top 10 single will come from, not that Nocturnes is a batch of un-commercial songs, but they sound more suited to late night radio. As a friend of mine commented, if some of these tracks were given to a well known Australian chanteuse, then they would probably end up being number 1, that said, if their recording career stalls then Victoria Hesketh might want to consider writing songs for other artists a la Cathy Dennis.

VereView Star Rating VVV/5

VereView Broken Record

Rokia’s Beautiful Sounds

Rokia Traore – Beautiful Africa (Album)

I would like to thank my “Cultural Assitant“ Tarlach O’Neil, who turned me onto Rokia Traore; as he semt me a link to her album Tchamantche, I subsequently found out she had released an Album earlier this year Beautiful Africa.

For those who havent heard of her before; Rokia Traore is from Mali and is a Victoires de la Musique award winner, this is her 5th album following up from 2008 Tchamantche Rokia has worked with producer John Parish (other producing credits include Sparklehorse & PJ Harvey).

Whilst Tchamantche felt more like a chill out world album, Beautiful Africa sees Rokia in a uptempo almost rock mode, but never losing her world music fusion sensibilities. When Rokia sings it is as if she is telling a story; a story that I don’t understand but like the sound of.

Of the songs on the album Ka-Moun Ke being the stand out track sounding like a slightly slower version of Yeke Yeke; Tuit Tuit has a beat that you cannot help tapping your feet to. The Title track Beautiful Africa is Rokia’s most rockiest number and gives the album a boost before the albums closing track Sarama; which is partly sung in English which lends even more poignancy to the track.

Should you only buy one world music album this year, make Beautiful Africa that purchase.

VereView Star rating VVV/5

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