Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Todd album 'Arena' out next month

The wait is almost over folks. According to this article on, Todd's new album, entitled, 'Arena' is out next month.

Part inspired by the New Cars tour Todd says: "I found myself just going out and doing this sort of guerilla guitar quartet thing around the country and around Canada, So when it came time to make a record, I thought maybe I’ll just continue in that vein and write something that is appropriate to the guitar, since the fans seems to be enjoying it so much"

Track listing and cover pic here

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

I have had a few days to get my ears around the new album and it is one that should be added to your collection.

Track by Track

1. Constructive Summer - A piano tinged Rocker that gets things off to a cracking start. It also features the great couplet of 'raise a toast to saint joe strummer / I think he might of been our only decent teacher'

2. Sequestered in Memphis - This album's 'Stuck Between Stations'. Hear that Bruce, hear those HORNS, and just tell me those hand claps are not aimed at the live shows! This is a cracking track, posibibly he album's best.

3. One for the Cutters - I was not really sold on this one the first few listens, but it has grown on me more than any other track. It's a song about a murder and a rich girl that partied with townies: 'when one towney falls in the forest does anyone hear it'. Going to end up a one of the best tracks the band have ever writen.

4. Navy Sheets - Another song that was not grabbing me, and still isn't. Has a bit of a feeder fell to it.

5. Lord, I'm discouraged - Already being called their 'November Rain' (that's Guns n Roses). Not sure it reminds me of that, but it does pick at another musical memory that I can not recall. Nice guitar solo.

6. Yeah Sapphire - Can see this being a popular one, but it seems to one of the blander tunes to me.

7. Both Crosses - Shimmering acoustic number with some great religious lyrics. It is hard to avoid the feeling that it is about to break iinto Bon Jovi's 'Wanted Dead or Alive' though

8. Stay Positive - Another classic sing-a-long. You just know you'll have a big smile at the shows singing 'woah oh oh' in this one, and it also has another great couplet: 'and the kids at the shows will have kids of their own ' and the sing-a-long songs will be our scriptures'. It is short, sweet, and joyful.

9. Magazines - This is a bit THS by numbers, but does have some more brass to lift it.

10. Joke about Jamaica - The use of a bit of vocodar (more Scorpions than Bon Jovi) aside, I like the feel of this track.

11. Slapped Actress - THS finish with a Weezer impersonation. Seriously, the guitar sound here is just so Weezer. It is a cracking track though and one I could see them ending shows with, especially as it ends with a fine chorus of 'woahs'.

I'm still stopping short of a five star review, but it isn't a long way off. The production is the best they have had, and musically and lyrically there is some progression. I can not wait to hear some of this live. Will it be the album that really breaks them here or in the US? Release Slapped Actress as a single and Maybe ...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Bloody Valentine @ the Roundhouse 23/06/2008

The return of My Bloody Valentine was one of the things I was looking forward to and dreading with equal measure. MBV were one of those bands for whom the word seminal is often used, and suddenly after 16 years away, Kevin Shields and co decided that 'Loveless' was not meant to be their last album, so they needed to get back together. The new album is still a way off, but the band decided first to get back on the road.

This was the 4th night of a 5 night stint at the Roundhouse, and by Monday reports were already going around aboout just how loud MBV were - and still are. Giving out earplugs to your audience? Not very rock 'n' roll.

So were they loud? Of course they were, but it wasn't half as bad as some people would have had you believe- maybe all those maiden, scorpions, priest gigs in my youth had accustomed me to all this. Anyway, yes loud, noisey, and ... very good, but still just missing something.

If you eschew the earplugs you could hear the music, and you could see Kevin and Bilinda standing at their mics with their mouths opening ... not having any idea if any sound was coming out. Stick in the earplugs, and - as they should they filter out the top end and bottom end frequencies 'cleaning up the sound'. Yes, they are singing, but still not in anyway that you could really say was audible above the music.

This to me is the thing that lets the gig doown for me and stopped my connecting with it in a way i hoped. It is true thaq even on the albums the vocals are not exactly crystal clear, and low in the mix but they are STILL there and add the mellody that help the tunes form into the mini masterpieces many of the songs are.

So, all doom and gloom? No. Like I say, if you pretended they were an instrumental band, then it was pretty good. Very tight, spot on rendidtions of some great tunes. It was great to hear my personal favourite track, When You Sleep performed live (second track of the night). Also whilst most people would not believe it, the 15 mins of playing the same chord in You Made Me Realise is actually quite effective and musical.

I loved it, I was frustrated by it, but I didn't feel it. Sorry guys I need to hear the vocals.