23-year-old Winston Yellen, better known as Night Beds, possesses a voice of tremulous, outstanding beauty. It’s something he is highly aware of, that much is evident. For on debut album ‘Country Sleep‘, when Yellen unleashes his vocal gymnastics of heartbreaking vulnerability over lashings of rumbling Americana, he holds nothing back.
No matter what, any new music released by Manchester’s greatest ever guitarist and all round nice guy will always be held up against the stunning legacy of the band he left aged only 24.
That won’t be happening here. All clear on that? Good. Glad we’re all in agreement.
‘The Messenger‘ then, is billed as Johnny Marr’s first fully solo album – which means that tellingly, Marr is quietly distancing himself from the boorish, sub-Oasis swamp rock of 2003’s ‘Boomslang‘ (he’s right to do so of course, it’s crap). Pleasingly, we instead find that Marr is now as comfortable with the Johnny of today as he is embracing of the Johnny of yesteryear.
These days, Yo La Tengo seem happy with who they are.
After near enough three decades in existence, who can blame them? And the fact that two thirds of the band are husband and wife (Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley) means this milestone deserves even more commendation. It certainly must make for one interesting band dynamic.
With ‘Fade’, the band continue their genre-hopping, soft-glowing, heart-warming alt. rock, and this their thirteenth studio album settles into a template of a few of their previous albums. But this doesn’t mean that they’re simply retreading their own well-worn musical paths and regurgitating the same old songs. On the contrary. Yo La Tengo operate with a lot more subtlety than that.
There’s plenty of new talent out there to get excited about this year. The likes of Palma Violets, Haim, Tom Odell and Savages have already caused a gaggle of eager music publications to pin their colours firmly to the mast, and should at least spark the usual ‘Next Big Thing’/'Hyped Up Bollocks’ debate when they release new albums in 2013. Here, some of Live4ever’s writers reveal what they’re hoping for from some of the more established acts out there, including the latest project from Thom Yorke and the plans of a few Manchester legends.
Let us know what you’re hoping 2013 will bring by leaving a comment below.
Now you’ve been through our extensive Essential Listening 2012 series, which includes all our top choices from a past twelve months of albums, gigs and tracks, here some of our frankly super talented band of writers pick out their own favourite album of 2012, each making a convincing argument for the selected records in the process.
Their debut album ‘Thirst’ arrives like a thunderbolt, its ten songs hitting hard like a half hour hurricane before it exits – as quickly as it arrives – leaving the listener thinking: “What the hell just happened?”
It’s not too difficult to imagine Temples emerging from their home studio with ‘Shelter Song‘ tucked carefully under their arms; the duo blinking as they clamber out from beneath mounds and mounds of vintage and analogue equipment, their pupils dilated as they stare in wonderment at the intensity of their brightly coloured surroundings. For Temples are psychedelic, man.
And ‘Shelter Song’ is no different; falling into the classic old-fashioned psychedelia genre, all narcotic guitar rushes, kaleidoscopic colours and existence-questioning inner space harmonies. It’s certainly an onslaught to the senses that apes certain mind and perception altering substances; such is the fluidity and malleability of the cacophonous melodies within the track.
North East natives Little Comets are managed by former footballer Ugo Ehiogu, soundtrack Radox adverts, and once enlisted a drummer from a failed boyband.
Despite that sentence appearing to be the nonsensical ramblings of the intellectually challenged, all three are indeed facts.
With such an oddball backstory, one could easily imagine such a band starring in some kind of fly-on-the-wall make-it-or-break-it documentary, where they stumble from one drama and dilemma to the next. Some kind of journey, making vacuous music throughout. On BBC3. Probably.
But the truth of the matter is, Little Comets’ reality is far removed from such a scenario; with one successful album under their belt they’re doing rather well, thank you very much. And rather than being some kind of quirky, indie-lite act, Little Comets aren’t afraid to tackle The Bigger Issues, and the enigmatically titled new album ‘Life Is Elsewhere’ is no different.
In the not-too-distant past there seemed to be some kind of mythical conveyor belt churning out an endless array of brash and anthemic guitar bands into the upper echelons of the top 40 and into the forefront of public consciousness.
Bands were just as likely to hit the front covers of the red tops as they were the music press and, in effect, it was Britpop Part II. But since then, things have quietened down and become a little more introspective. A bit of folkiness here, a smidgen of experimental electronica over there, and a lot of navel-gazing all round. Indie label autonomy and a return to Postcard or C86-era values are the order of the day, albeit modernised for the digital age.
So coming up now to give the country a collective slap in the face and the scene the proverbial kick up the arse is East London five-piece Dexters.
The Antipodean sonic adventurer, better known by the faux-band moniker Tame Impala, did rather well with 2010’s sprawling, neo-psychedelic modern classic ‘Innerspeaker’.
From recording and producing the full album alone in his bedroom, to widespread acclaim and hanging with fellow space cadets The Flaming Lips in just two years, it’s been a dizzying ride into the stratosphere for the 26-year-old Perth native. Not bad for someone who likes to spend his time lazily ‘sitting around smoking weed’.
Maybe it’s the green stuff then, that’s relaxed Parker throughout the process of recording ‘Lonerism’, because if he has been feeling the pressure then he damn well isn’t showing it. Again, as on ‘Innerspeaker’, he’s the captain of this ship with long time ‘Lips cohort Dave Fridmann on hand for mixing and mastering duties. So what’s in store for Tame Impala pt II?
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