After cameras can we do MP3 players? My sandisk jam fell apart after 3 years, so am asking a relative for a new one for Christmas. As my price point is around the £50 point have narrowed it down to 2: the fiio M3 and the APTEK Rocker. The former has some iffy reviews around UI and indexing your files, the latter doesnt have the fiio name but does have Bluetooth. Any users of either please post your experiences. I’m likely to be playing from my digital shelves initially mp3s at 320 rather than anything lossless, but could of course rip stuff again to the hi res formats. Usage is travel really, so that I don’t have huge amounts of spotify offline clogging up my phone.
Formula One is apparently having a crisis of conscience over scantily-clad girls holding up lap placards and the so forth.
But check out the comments below the line. For those devotees of Private Eye’s From the Messageboards this is pure gold. Can’t see metricmartyr or bogbrush but sure they are in there somewhere.
Some instant highlights:
why dont we just shove everyone in a standardised orange jump suit make them wear a mask and refer to everyone as “person”
From what I can see the girls in F1 are treated with respect and dress nicely. You do know girls like to look nice and like dress nicely, that’s why they take so long getting ready.
I would like to think that all the posters are actually taking the piss. But you know I’m really not sure. its a perfect ‘pc gone mad/minorities run Britain’ story…
Ok a friend posted this on FB – the KLF are building ‘The People’s Pyramid’ or not and to accompany this they have done some new songs or got ‘Post-witch’ band monomorte to release some remixes/new songs – or monomorte themselves, if they exist, have cooked all this up as a great publicity stunt – anyone care to illuminate? Videos and tracks are full of KLF stuff, but who knows whether any of this is actually connected with the actually japesters or not.
Free downloads from bandcamp at the minute.
What does it sound like?:
Just before the end-of-year polls cap it all why don’t we try and rescue a few notable releases from the ‘mentioned in dispatches’ pile. So, kicking up a little bit of a storm, here’s the second album from Zeitgeist-botherers Wolf Alice for your consideration.
The WA sound does not exactly emerge like a strange fish from some uncharted musical ocean. I lost track of bands that came to mind in listening to this album but here’s a go: Curve, Throwing Muses, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Kitchens of Distinction, This Mortal Coil, even a touch of Spacemen 3 and revivalists like Ballet School (second album from them would be very welcome).
First track Heavenward (a completely nineties title) sets out the stall with soaring vocals, chiming guitars and a straight-ahead driving (Driving That Fast indeed) 4/4 rhythm. Yuk Foo adds a bit more crunch to the guitars, more yelp to the vocals. By Beautifully Unconventional we have a bit more attitude and lyrical content, it’s a track that will ‘speak’ to anyone at Sixth Form College. Don’t Delete the Kisses – most keyboardy so far. Fifth track Planet Hunter (which returns to » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Five good reasons why I am entirely the wrong person to review this 10-disc blow out:
It’s remastered. You know honestly my ears and Spotify streaming just aren’t acute enough to work out what has been gained or lost this time around. So anyone else who can comment on this – well go ahead. I don’t know anything about their catalogue and have never seen them live. So not a clue whether this is their best, worst or somewhere in the middle. No shortage of people willing to tell me, not least daughter. Metal. Not my period. Rock yes, heavy rock yes. But apart from Sabbath and Motorhead and a touch (little touch) of Priest metal is really not my thing. I remain untouched by the charms of Maiden (who I am at least aware of), Kiss, Van Helen, and the many others. Extras. See I really don’t do extras. Never played a directors commentary on a DVD. Not that interested in live versions, demos, rough mixes, out-takes. I can just about hack an alternate ending or a good blooper real, but that’s not going to get me through 9CD’s of this kind of » Continue Reading.
I could have sworn that someone else had written a perfectly good review of an earlier gig on this tour. I even commented that I was going to see them this week as a comment. But blowed if I can find it anywhere now. So, to the Birmingham Institute leg of the 2017 Ride tour, in support of their perfectly fine first album for 20 plus years, Weather Diaries. Its the second-most convincing shoegaze comeback of recent time, not quite the equal of the mighty Slowdive, but ahead of Swervedriver. Various commitments caused us to arrive just as Ride take the stage so no comment on the unseen support. What we get is twenty-odd songs over the next 100 mins that take in the new album and shoegaze-goes-britpop stumbler Carnival of Light, but mostly are securely anchored in their early EPs and first two studio albums Nowhere and Going Blank Again. Their subdued stagecraft, largely limited to some rock shapes thrown by Mark Gardiner, leaves one to concentrate on their music. And mostly its magnificent, waves of guitar washing over a rock-solid rhythm section. Andy Bell wrings long chains of melody from his, Gardiner » Continue Reading.
Your summer like ours may have been enlivened by grippy absurd bizarre ultra-Spanish psycho-melodrama I Know Who You Are. Hey it’s on BBC4 so it’s educational as well right. After ten episodes of twisty amnesiac drama things came to an abrupt end. Very abrupt as it turns out the final episode was not the end at all but only two-thirds of the way through the series. Well it is back back back baby this week so we can see what has happened to Ana, Alicia et al. so if it’s slipped your attention (we had the Guardian listings to thank for the alert) then get on the iplayer right now. Best not to start two-thirds of the way through but I think the whole glorious shebang is available. There are many things to love about this series, but the penchant for the entire Spanish legal system to go to work in Zara’s best smart casual wear is both easy on the eye and mystifying.
What does it sound like?:
Writing about electronic music. A bit like dancing about architecture. With your rock/pop/country/rap you’ve got song structures, vocal styles, lyrics, band dynamics and lots of juicy analogue stuff to get into. Where to start with an album like Bicep? There’s no lyrics, and only one vocal on the very last track (it gets significantly less interesting the more their tracks aspire to songs). Let’s start with what we can quantify. There are two of them, and they come from a label/blogging/DJing background though have been making music since 2011. Bicep by Bicep offers twelve tracks of 4-6 mins in length. I found a track of their on my Spotify Discover playlist and delved further.
It’s my electronic album of the year (so far). Firstly, it keeps it simple. Each track is built up quite deliberately of layers of drums, bass and keyboards. There’s never too much going on to pick out each individual element. Sometimes a very sampled vocal note floats around, and there’s always a strong melodic presence. Tempo is very consistent and there’s no huge drops or builds. All of that might be hiding away in remixes, but on the album things » Continue Reading.
Bruce Springsteen would cover Cars and Girls by Prefab Sprout and we would discover that Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney were releasing their version of Beatles and the Stones by the House of Love as a Christmas duet.
What does it sound like?:
It’s always hard to judge if an album that brings together distinguished members of favourite bands together is a diverting side project, or the start of something substantial. I would tip the dial of Invitation towards the latter, while not ruling out this being a one-time only deal to enjoy now . Peter Buck provides the guitars, Corin Tucker from Sleater-Kinney the vocals, and new-to-me-though-not-to-many-Afterworders Bill Reiflin from King Crimson, with Kurt Bloch and Scott McCaughey. It’s a post-Bill Berry R.E.M. Friends and family affair.
Lead album track and lead single Despierta is excellent – crunchy guitars, rumbling bass and drums and a monster chorus. It sets a template that foregoes in almost all cases the classic R.E.M. Jangle sound for loud/soft references from the 90s that take in Pixies, Breeders, Throwing Muses and further back to Television. The first half of the album sustains a high quality of songwriting: Faded Afternoon and The Arrival are both terrific. Surprise here is mainly round the textures and edges – there’s one Buck refrain that echoes Spirit of Radio, and in two tracks the college rock mould is decisively broken. Come Back Shelley taps into Ziggy » Continue Reading.
Listening to the very good Crystal Castles debut this morning, I was struck by how yet again its a bloke as a musician/producer/knobtwiddler and a woman as the vocalist. So, simple question: can anyone think of a duo or group where there’s a male vocalist and the musician/producer/knobtwiddlers is/are female. Everything But The Girl I think got to pretty 50:50, and no Prince doesn’t really count as The Revolution/3rd Eye Girl are excellent backing musicians rather than the Will Gregory in the setup.
What does it sound like?:
Let’s start with Teenage Fanclub. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart stand in relationship to that moment in the early eighties when new wave went pop, as the Fannies do to the jangly Rickenbacker-toters of the late sixties and early seventies. If seeing Echo and The Bunnymen and The Psychedelic Furs on Top of the Pops floated your boat, at that precise point when ‘added a sytnh’ and got a big name producer, then you will be right at home here. In a piece of serendipity I was listening to this straight after wishing that The Comsat Angels’ Jive albums (a perfect example of the new wave goes pop moment in all its conflicted mess) were still available, as ‘Stay Tonight’ is from my memory of it from thirty years ago exactly what we are talking about here.
The musical mix is propulsive drums, jangly guitars and a synth cutting through with a sweet melody line. For eight tracks the tempo is upbeat, and the choruses are so perfect they seem not so much to have been composed as unearthed from the unheard soundtrack to the Ferris Bueller sequel. On a track such » Continue Reading.
If this seriously good series has escaped your attention then rush to the iplayer now. Suzi Klein tells the story of how music and politics were entwined in the twentieth century. The first episode focuses on revolution in Soviet Russia and Weimar Germany: we have some great sequences about Weimar cabaret and avant-garde Soviet music (a symphony for factory sirens), culminating in a chilling sequence about the Horst Wessel song. The second covers Strauss’s seduction by the Nazis, and some equally scary footage on the exhibition of degenerate music in thirties Berlin. The tightrope composers walked in Soviet Russia is also set out. Klein is very knowledgeable and every ten minutes features some footage or incident you’ve never heard before. Essential viewing. Music docs of the year for me, even if you’ll never be able to enjoy Carmine Burana in quite the same way again.
As a companion post to @h-p-saucecraft on bingeing, what artists do you ration? I find that favourite artists with compact catalogues need to be rationed as the ever-present spectre of overlistening and becoming bored with them would turn a win into a loss. Particularly artists who’ve been with me for a long time. So Kate Bush, The Clash, New Order, The Blue Nile, Kraftwerk and 10,000 Maniacs for example have to be carefully apportioned out. I listened to The Jam so much as a youngster its not so much listening to them anymore as triggering my internal autoplay.
There are other more fecund artists such as The Fall of course for whom this is less of an issue.
What does it sound like?:
The most frequently heard words on this album are ‘I’ and ‘You’ followed by ‘We’. Out In The Storm is a relationship/breakup/staying together/oh god what do I really want? album that’s lyrically straight out of singer-songwriter central. If you’re not up for some Me Time then this is not for you. The album opens with a confident blast of power guitar and the words ‘Everyone will hear me complain/Everyone will feel my pain’ . It ends in a downbeat acoustic number in which she fears she is fading away. In between we hear a lot about whether she should drive to Brooklyn, go to Berlin or just stay in bed.
It feels very twenty-something. There’s nothing about mortgages, children or jobs – just the emotional manipulations, arguments, drunken nights and regrets of a decaying relationship. It’s about the fighting that takes place in words, intentions and misunderstandings.
Lyrically the album never lets up from this theme. Musically it has a number of modes: the confident fuzzy power-pop that characterises the opener and standout track Hear You where she locates a killer chorus that several other songs could benefit from. Then there’s the slower » Continue Reading.
I updated itunes at the end of last week, and perhaps co-incidentally playcount has stopped working completely. Nothing being recorded in the playcount column. Any thoughts on how to solve this? Yes have done a basic google and nothing recent that provides a how-to would appear to be on the apple help forums or similar.
What with @bricameron having an idea for a ‘deep cuts’ band and everything, I found myself thinking about both this and the ‘death of the list thread’ comments that have been swirling around. So, without further ado let’s see how a Deep Cuts list thread gets on. I’ve actually been thinking about this since coming across this terrific Nick Cave track a week or so ago. Not only have I never really clocked how awesome this track is, I’ve played this album a couple of times without this track standing out. Boy how wrong I was.
But what actually is a ‘deep cut’ I hear you say? Well, please post away according to the literally quite arbitrary rules I have made up:
Not a single obvs. A or B. B-sides is a different beast to Deep Cuts. Not on a greatest hits. Not from the debut, most critically acclaimed, or latest albums – so to have a deep cut a minimum of three albums is required. Not otherwise picked out as a fan favourite/critical hit – so no, Stairway to Heaven is not a deep cut. Some bands have no deep cuts. Zep, HJH’s, Nirvana. The Stones » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
I posted in the “late to’ thread that I’d managed to escape the charms of Nine Inch Nails. But as both their new EPs are on emusic I’m now in.
Add Violence has five tracks – four of which perhaps are what I might expect from the combination of ‘industrial’ and ‘recent soundtracks to Gone Girl’ might lead everyone to expect. A basic palette of clattering drums, dirty guitar and growling vocals is set out in track one Less Than, which features an epic chorus My Corrosion-era Eldritch would have snapped up. A similar setup is in place for track four, minus the chorus. On the second track this get mixed up a bit. Take away the somewhat windswept vocal about going ‘into the arms of a woman’ and what’s happening is some kind of stuttery Four Tet groove. Track three deconstructs things still further, as a georgeous wobbly keyboard riff is set against wordless vocal sounds until the song decides to evolve as a doomy ballad.
All of this, enjoyable enough, is as an overture to the remarkable final track The Background World. It starts with bubbling synths and a gentle propulsiveness » Continue Reading.
Swoppers – it’s your last chance to post your blind reviews. Convinced that bleeptronica track must be Elton John’s alter-ego? It’s oooh the missing link between Whitesnake and The White Stripes – yes must be White Lines. Get posting as @kid-dynamite is going to drop all the track listings at the end of the month. Those where all reviews are in he’s been doing as we go, but the gate comes down on 31 Aug! Been fun eh.
‘Hi Christopher it’s the studio here…yeah just stoked about the Dunkirk numbers. You crushed it buddy. So, we’re thinking here about what’s next. I mean not Dunkirk 2 – that would be crazy. But where you might want to go next. We’re thinking maybe The Dambusters here. Everyone loved the planes – so let’s have more of those. And there’s even a dog. What do you think?
So, there’s a stiff upper lip B and W film ripe for re-imagining. Check. Only really need to see the Germans in long shot. Check. So no tricky subtitles or ‘For you Tommy zee war iz over’ moments. Check. We’re so over all that cheap stereotyping. Planes. Check. Can we get some Spitfires in again? The Lancaster’s a bit more…utilitarian. Cross-cutting narratives building to a climactic moment. Ok maybe we need to think a bit more here. So far I’ve got – Guy Gibson in a plane obvs but also: Barnes Wallis suddenly realises there’s a fatal flaw in the bomb design…but they’ve already left. So can we get him in a Spitfire doing some mid-air crucial repairs while they’re being shot at. The dog story needs fleshing out – maybe he’s got » Continue Reading.
It’s that time of year. Harkive is an annual survey of listening habits – how you are listening not what you are listening to necessarily. Let them explain it:
Harkive 2017 – The 60-second guide
Harkive is an annual online research project that gathers stories about How, Where and Why people listen to music across a single day. The project this year takes place on Tuesday 25th July – We’d love to hear your story.
The project is interested in how music plays its part in your day on 25th July. We’re interested in the technologies, formats and services you use, the places you find yourselves in and how music accompanies you as you move through your day, and – of course – how music makes you feel.
Joining in with the project is easy. You can do so simply by adding the #harkive hashtag to your music-related posts on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Alternatively, if you want to write something a little longer, you can email it to us, or send it via this online form. Stories are also accepted as posts on the Harkive Facebook wall.
Here’s a gentle reminder that the deadline for posting your CDs is fast approaching. So if you have been umming and ahhing between Start or Start Me Up then make your mind up and get burning!
What happens next? We’ll post a series of blog posts – one per group next week with you tagged in them. Then it’s over to the three/four of you to post your blind reviews and exchange pleasantries. End of August we’ll post the tracklistings to the same group posts and you can go dohh or get in!
A quick reminder your CD is a single CD, standard audio rip, 12 tracks without titles and artists. Theme of Beginnings. We have had a discussion on a previous blog post about how to anonymise your tracks, mp3tag appears to do a stand-up job on this, including artwork.
Any questions here or to me or @kid-dynamite.
We’ve commented on how the emusic relaunch has led to the disappearance of several labels, so it’s only fair to note (for UK accounts at least) a fairly big coup – a treasure trove of 80s Chrysalis. Specials, Selecter, Fun Boy 3, The Waterboys, The Bible, Blue Aeroplanes, Carter USM, Catherine Wheel (ok 90s there) are top of my list. There’s plenty for the rock fan – UFO, Robin Trower, Michael Schenker. Ultravox, Sinead O’Connor, Steeleye Span, Debbie Harry solo stuff – lots to dig into. er and there’s Living In a Box and Go West too.
So some upsides to the relaunch.
Time for our annual Wimbledon roundup surely. So how was yours? I through domestic events ended up watching quite a bit more than usual. Overall, a very entertaining fortnight while slightly short on classic matches between the favourites. The fact that injuries were the big tournament story tells you something. We had the early round spectacle of patently-unfit players turning up and withdrawing after a set in order to get their match fee – understandable in the case of someone ranked 200 in the world, less so in the case of Stan The Man who went out meekly. Later on those who crossed their fingers and hoped it would get better – Djokovic and Murray – also had to face up to the fact that their bodies were just not up to it. The women’s championship was dominated by the further rise of Johanna Konta, an exemplar of the ultra-coached player. The Jobot has an extraordinarily impassive presence, all part of her ‘process’ that makes her very hard to beat, but difficult to warm to whatever nationality she is. I’m fine with cheering her as a Brit, but feel that to win a slam she’s going to have to add » Continue Reading.
Ok it looks like from various postings that the swaps are starting. Please do send yours out by the end of July, to give everyone plenty of time to listen to your mastermix and formulate their thoughts before the listings go up at the end of August.
The admins are working on a sensible way to group all the tracklistings.
Please DM us your tracklistings – I have one already. By all means add a few comments either per track or about the CD as a whole, but remember to keep it relatively brief for the OP. You can expand in the comments to your hearts desire.
Finally a request: I have a fairly standard windows 10 machine, with itunes and Mediaplayer. Can someone post an easy guide to making your mp3’s anonymous (ie with no info) bar Track 1, Artist 1. I have a lot from emusic and though I rename the file and can drag it into Windows mediaplayer the cover art that will not disappear. Would it reappear if someone listened to the CD through itunes?