Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Impossible Astronaut: Doctor Who

A review from someone who dips in and out of Doctor Who and generally thinks science fiction is written for children…however ‘ahh the moon’ is something I say a lot too.

Well firstly, after catching the last ten minutes of the drugged up nonsense ‘ Don't Scare the Hare’, and suffering a trailer for some very ugly dancing,  Doctor Who was always going to look pretty brilliant, sandwiched between utter bargain basement gameshow TV, good thinking beeb.

 I love Matt Smith although after seeing him in ‘Christopher and His Kind’ I wonder if Steven Moffat is really stretching him, having said that, I enjoyed this first off once it got going. Amy and Rory irritated me far less than in the last series; she’s not fidgeting as much so maybe the ‘Baby Pond’ idea will work. A pregnant companion, well why the hell not, this is 2011 although might have been more modern if she wasn’t married. Or they left Rory dead as all this ‘bringing people back’ is a little tiresome now unless of course it is ‘regeneration’.

The opening sequences were a little messy and could have not been there at all preferably, I kind of liked the invites in ‘Tardis Blue’, mostly as it sounds like a wacky hair colour though. 

I’m still waiting for Amy to grab my interest so thank goodness for that little frizzy haired flickering light River Song aka Alex Kingston who has been consistently good. Yes I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her either but she’s sounds so lovely when she saysHello Sweetie’. Oh and Easter Island statue joke… yes he does River and I think he’s quirky handsome too in a square stone kind of way.

Canton Everett Delaware III had  to be significant, and by the way, the new monster alien thing, The Silence,  seems to be inspired by Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ ironically, but with big Kenny Everett hands…and so dapper too. Loving the monsters.

Overall, not bad at all, Matt Smith was fabulous in a not too mumbly way, Amelia has improved and River Song is brilliant. I jumpy jumped back to her death in the library and the Doctor not knowing who she was…emotional stuff sweeties.

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Wonderful with Doctor Moon flashbacks, it might not have been perfect but it’s all looking like it has potential.

Donna’s ginger babies disappeared, Amy has work to do…look forward.

And talking of munchkins, here’s the viewpoint of one, Doctor Who isn’t just for the adults after all;

What I really like about Doctor Who is that it is about Time Travel and Space. I like the sad bits and the happy bits and the funny bits. I know I like it very much because every time an episode ends I cant wait for the NEXT TIME.  

 If you look back at old series and stuff, all of it pieces together I think it’s great! It doesn’t go from like one good plot to something completely different like a lot of episode series like Robin Hood,  you get that and it gets kinda stupid.   

Heres an example, Rose Tyler was one of the Doctor's favourite companions, almost ever in the series, now when she got put in the parallel universe and got stuck there it would be stupid if she was never mentioned again.

I thought that the first episode for this brand new series was Complicated but it makes more sense if you have watched the Library episode with River Song and her Dreadful day...... well I wont tell you anything because you might of not seen it and just started watching! Well that’s my opinion. Goodbye
Eden…aged 11.

I can’t believe a single person missed it but if you did jump here to BBC iplayer.

This is in memory of Elisabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Austra: Feel It Break Album Review

 Esoteric electro that will charm you on first listen...

I am so in love with Austra’s spellbinding dark side electro, the eerie and building tracks are full of fantasy and a stark pulse with a backdrop of pagan references and spooked up beeps that result in the most perfect witchery gothpop. The Canadian trio, Katie Stelmanis, Maya Postepski and Dorian Wolf really have co written, produced and captured a wonderfully esoteric feel in their music.    

The album is drenched with Depeche Mode, not in an irritating parroting way but rather in an inspired and beautiful concoction, with the added bonus of Katie’s classically trained musical charm…and charm she certainly does.

Opening with the melodrama and perfection of ‘Darken Her Horse’, Katie’s vocals build slowly backed by the gradual creation of sounds as if she’s using the music to enchant and gather those around her until the drums kick in. It’s a build up in a mysterious ritualistic way that leaves you lost.


It sets a pace for the rest of the album which has bass lines that consume in that dark yet uplifting way, putting you into a trance like state as if burning into your soul…sound too much? It’s just pure brilliance and I’m sure the most stubborn of wallflowers would want to move in time under Katie’s spell.

Lose It’ moves on with vocal trickery and more melodrama as she wails banshee-like about loss and chants ‘in the darkness comes, another another’.  Divining with musical insight in ‘The Future’, Katie’s vocal range is sounding very Fever Ray inspired.

Already reviewed here has been the debut single ‘Beat and the Pulse’, yes you remember the one with the video of nipples, outrageous, well no not really, more ridiculous was that youtube blurred them. The video is arty erotic and portrays perfectly female sexuality and empowerment, certainly not in a  ‘Nuts’ magazine nonsense kind of way that creeps through into the mainstream media elsewhere. ‘Beat and the Pulse’ is exactly as the title suggests, all consuming and spine tingling, alongside Mode, there is definitely that Fever Ray tribalistic feel to this one too.

‘Spellwork’ trickles momentarily and then kicks in suddenly with a strong ‘Black Celebration’ feel. All things crossed this is a single as its otherworldly brilliance shows her voice and the machines manifesting a very danceable track.

‘The Choke’ with its beguiling vocals and deep synths is pure gorgeousness and has a definite touch of Kate Bush enchantment. ‘Hate Crime’ and ‘The Villain’ go yet deeper  with Katie not partaking but observing from afar, lost in her own creative meltdown of the dark side of reality without self indulging but using the music as its judgement.

For the last three tracks, a different path in the album seems to be taken for me with the jerky introduction of ‘Shoot the Water’ but still with Austra mantras weaved into the lyrical message. The circular movement of the bleeps and vocals becomes a bit intoxicating in its magic. 

The anguish of ‘The Noise’ gives way to some more chanting, completely losing any sense of definition of reality and fantasy as this track bridges the two dimensions and Austra for the first time bring in a guitar rift rather successfully.

Feel It Break ends with the beautiful ‘The Beast’ on rolling piano, a lovely comedown from the intoxication of the previous tracks and almost makes you feel like you have surrendered finally, drifting in this quite lovely euphoric ending.  Once you come round from the tranquilising affect this band has on you, you will surely switch this overwhelming and deliciously dark treat back on. I know I did. It’s bewitching with striking contrasts of simplicity yet fanciful and incongruities of down tempo that makes you feel up, up and away. If you like your electro shadowy, Feel It Break will become your ‘familiar’.

Must listens:

'Darken Her Horse'
'The Beast'

'Feel It Break' is released on May 16th

Related links:

Austra official site
Austra on Soundcloud
Domino Records

Friday, 15 April 2011

Feel the Crystal Fighters love again...remixed and unplugged.

Not that I'm obsessed or anything but...Champion Sound (prone to band crush).

Now the sun has his hat on, perhaps is should be a pointy one fashioned by the sleeve of the brilliant Star of Love and its 'make you want to jump around a bit bonkers music'. 

If you haven't got this album yet, you must, no collection is complete without it. It's the most perfect festival music, and yes, I was at Bestival last year and didn't see them..silly me!  Their current single 'At Home' is beeped up by the  Pony Pony Run Run Remix and this acoustic version is now soundclouding, pure gorgeousness. I lovelovelove this track so a million different versions is fine with me!

Their current tour has been putting them on the map though, once you hear this, you will want to 'swallow'' them up, it's food for your ears...dubstepitty euphoric gorgeousness.

 Or in Sebastian's own words; 'fast percussive slightly folk trancy euphoric building banger with indie tendencies'.   EXACTLY! I would say hurry up with your new stuff you Crystal Fighters...but I still love this months later and it might feel like an overdose of bonkers genius. Beepy or live, they are brilliant so you will want to go 'down down down' to the Plage with them.

Has this been the best year ever for music? And it's only April...

 I've forgotten what my excuse was to blog them? Oh that's it, I finally had something to out bass out my noisy reggae neighbour with. Star of Love won the battle of' music in the garden' on a sunny day mwhaaa haaa haaa...I Love London!

Related Posts:

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The thing that leaves you in the darkness is her...

Austra: The Choke

Waiting oh so impatiently for another track from the long awaited Feel it Break, well I say long wait, a few months really,  the super brilliance of Soundcloud is streaming ’The Choke’. It is quite simply gorgeousness; with softer vocals from frontwoman Katie Stelmanis, it differentiates from the previous releases with a slight hint of Kate Bush but still in keeping with the Depeche Mode- ish backing, it can only be a winning formula.

Austra have caught the darker sound of Mode but not ripped it off in that postmodern way and it’s made all so more interesting with her quite unique vocal range. For those that might find Katie’s vocals a bit over powering sometimes, this one is a little more chilled out.  Someone please put ‘Darken Her Horse’ on there soon…completely in love and adoration so far.

After a depressing and institutionally cruel betting weekend in dear old Blighty, my harmless flutter would go on this as the my album of the year. Austra are supernaturally exciting so get caught up in the spell she weaves with her beguiling vocals and deep synths...enchanting.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Count Backwards with Emika

"I plan to swap your pennies for my thoughts one day" 

Electro spooky Emika shapeshifts from Bristol to Berlin in her creation of dark and self indulgent music. 'Count Backwards' is 'sort of' immediate in the same way it is 'sort of' dubstep, 'sort of' trip hop and all a bit on the edge of madness with beguiling vocals...what's not to like? 

The hypnotic and shadowy synth music draws you in like a spell, creepy edged dubstep and simply fearless direction; another contender for 'witchery dubskip' methinks? 'Count Backwards' burns into your soul with its psychosis, like a musical panic attack as you count down to blissful calm, somewhat uncomfortably and feeling jumpy. This neck of the woods does seem to be good at producing this dance noir since the reign of Portishead.

The talented Ms was signed so early on she had to hide 'in a bubble' in Berlin, away from the industry and trying to find her way; all sounding super cool so far. Only three tracks really out there at the moment but 'Double Edge' is another jerky and spooktacular effort from last year with a break to swirling instrumentation; quite unique.

Jump for this BBC interview where she makes some interesting comparisons between the music scenes of  Bristol and Berlin which has resulted in her pitch-dark, sometimes doom laden dubtechno...a track to avoid sat on your own in witching hour...lovelovelove it so listen up, the intro alone will haunt your mind for a few hours after. Avant-garde pop loveliness so hurry up with that debut LP please.

'Count Backwards' is out April 11th on Ninja Tune with remixes from Kriptic Minds and Marcell Dettmann.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Lykke on the Moon and some Computer Magic

It's all about space right now...

It's time for some 'wil o' the wisp' girls to tempt you off the path most taken with their little lanterns. Lykke is on the Moon, yes of course she is... and how well it suits her. 'I Follow Rivers' is one of my favourites from her album 'Wounded Rhymes' and with its definite 60's Motown feel in places, this slowed down acoustic version is rather lovely. Makes you want to get a couple of drumsticks and tap them together in an enchanting way.

Lykke has upped the eyeliner stakes and is looking  darkly and beautifully bonkers in this too, even if for some strange reason, the video is reminding me of  The Shadows guest spot on  Thunderbirds , yes I'm going to link, I'm not scared to admit liking a bit of early Cliff Richard. Stay with me and enjoy Lykke's trip to the moon, it will make you want to put on a mini skirt and some sparkly eyelashes, even you boys...enjoy!

And more spacey music but with a bit more beeping is...

New New Yorker Computer Magic, the electro baby of Danielle Johnson; a curious menagerie of quaint vocals infused with retrospective spaced out sci-fi bleeps. Listen, listen, listen to 'In So Many Ways' for the strange but noteworthy amalgam of otherworldly vocals backed by the cosmos age.  Let's not be afraid to mention the 80's, the intro is scarily Steve Millar Band 's 1982 'hit' 'Abracadabra' but don't be put off and feel the 'hit' love. Definitely melodic and understated synth music, warm and uncluttered and to keep on your radar this coming year.

Currently touring to promote her debut EP 'Electronic Fences' with the help of band members Adam Green and Chris Egan, the quirkiness of Danielle's Computer Magic is resulting in some unusual and peculiarly 70's sounding Apollo 13 orbital catchiness.

A goody from the debut is 'Running' which will prick the ears of Depeche Mode fans with its 'Enjoy the Silence' penchant and the lo-fi loveliness of St Etienne in places. In the rising excitement  for Austra's upcoming album 'Feel it Break', it's good to hear some newbies with 'modey' energy in the current climate where the girls are making waves with a bit more edge and electro exploration.

And finally for Computer Magic, lovelovelove for this track, kind of for its oddity and how it sounds as if she's been hanging out with Lykke on the moon for this one too...quirky brilliance.

Debut EP : Electronic Fences
Electronic Fences
Found Out
About You

Related links:
Computer Magic official site
Computer Magic @ Soundcloud

Related Posts:
Wounded Rhymes: album review
Official video for 'I Follow Rivers'