Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Preview: fun.

The first band in ages to follow that old adage of "it does what it says on the tin", fun. are a new band formed out of the ashes of fantastic US should-have-been-bigger-than-they-were(-even-though-their-last-album-on-vinyl-regularly-fetches-over-£100-on-ebay)-indie-rock-band, The Format, with an ex-member of the-near-perfect-live-indie-orchestra of Anathallo, and it's the most cheerful indie-pop-rock band you'll hear this year.

Out of the few songs floating about online, "Walking The Dog" is a perfect example of fun.'s toe-tapping calypso-pop, with its cleaner-than-clean guitar lines being accompanied by cute little squealing synth sounds, and singer Nate Ruess's familiar vocals filling the entire song with hooks; Whether it's the "na-na-na"'s, or the middle section borrowing from the old Don Henley classic, "Boys Of Summer", you'll have learnt the words in no time.

"At Least I'm Not As Sad As I Used To Be" starts on more of a somber note, with Ruess asking if we have ever "wondered about our old nu-metal friends, and what became of them" over some understated piano. Of course, things then pick up again straight away because, hey, they aren't as sad as they used to be! Some absolutely lovely female vocals add to the casual upbeat nature of the song, which I'm sure has steel drums in the background, further adding to the happy-go-lucky music.

Comparison wise, if you took the afrobeat styles of last years big hype band Vampire Weekend, but replaced "Vampire" with "Sunshine", and "Weekend" with "Holidays", then you are almost there. It's music to be relaxing on a beach to, or even to be having fun to. (If there is ever a band called "Awesome", I think i'll be doomed when writing about them..!)

fun.'s debut album "Aim and Ignite" can be preordered on vinyl at
http://hellomerch.com/shop/index.php?page=shop.browse&category_id=25&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=57 and you can hear some songs yourself at http://www.myspace.com/fun

Aim and Ignite is released on August 25, 2009.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Review: Dananananaykroyd – Hey Everyone

Hey Everyone is one of the most out-there fun records of 2009. Fact. The Scottish septet sound so upbeat and energetic that you can’t help but get taken in by the all-or-nothing rock music on this CD.

Things start off by building up to the absolutely brilliant “Watch This”, with its introductory group vocals of “Da-na-na-nan-ayk-royd!” leading into a cheeky little “Hiya! WATCH THIS! WATCH THIS” vocal, and that’s it. Hooked. The rest of the song is a brilliant little jagged pop song, and a great starter to the record.

Standout track number two is easily recent single “Black Wax”, which demonstrates the band’s ability to take their collective feet off the gas for a while, and create a slow burning singalong anthem. The energy is still there however, with group “woo”’s and quite lovely guitar work.

Talking of lovely guitar work, enter the brilliant “Infinity Milk”, which we given a preview of as such on previous Ep, “Sissy Hits”, with it’s 1-minute long finale of “Infinity Milk (Outro)”. Basically that one minute? Only the beginning of the ride, with it’s fantastic guitar riff building up to a collective group vocal of “Oh, my, god!” and bam, we’re away again, on another whirling, jagged pop song. Highlight of the entire record comes around 2 minutes in, with the little verse segment about atoms – “She, looks up and quietly says, “are these atoms?” “these are atoms” “I’m holding them” “ that just comes across so full of cheeky Glaswegian spirit. It’s a brilliant song. Fact.

Honourable mentions also go to former singles “Pink Sabbath”, and “Totally Bone” both coming with such awesome group vocal opportunities, that the band outline which lines you should sing along to in the lyrics booklet. Now that’s just lovely.
In total, Dananananaykroyd have delivered a brilliant debut album for jumping around your bedroom to/someone else’s bedroom to/the whole wide world to. You’d be honestly stupid not to give this record a chance. By far the most fun you can have on an indie-rock album this year.

Rating - A

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Review: Discovery - LP

Discovery is the side project from members of indie elite bands Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot, and is a brilliant little mix of pop, r & b and hiphop beats, combined with white-boy indie of course! Musically, it's not a million miles away from the output of mainstream american hiphop artists like Lil Wayne, as opener "Orange Shirt" demonstrates, with it's stuttering synth arpeggios, and almost falsetto processed vocals.

"Osaka Loop Line" continues in much the same way, with the stuttering synths almost competing to see just how stuttery they can get, before a 4/4 beat kicks in with a wonderfully understated chorus, complete with breathy vocals.

Things get amazingly poppy with the female vocals in "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend", which is a vocal hook doomed to stay in your head for a long time afterwards. This is followed up with standout track "So Insane", a seemingly disjointed track, with drumbeats seemingly creating themselves up until 56 seconds in, where the chorus goes all half-time, and you find yourself slowdancing on your own, or you know, with whoever's in the room. It's that good.

Things are rounded off with a chilled out electro-pop cover of Jackson 5 classic "I Want You Back" and then brought to a close with the eclectic "Slang Tang", ending a really weirdly good album. The only major complaints are that the tracks can seem a bit same-y, but stick this on loudly on a really nice summer day, and I'm betting that's not something you'll care about.

Rating: B

Review: La Roux - La Roux

The debut album from hotly tipped duo La Roux, aka singer Elly Jackson, and producer Ben Langmaid, is full of bitcrushed drumbeats, synth lines, and amazing vocal hooks from start to finish.

However, after the opening triple-punch of singles "In For The Kill", "Quicksand" and "Bulletproof", there is a feeling of musical deja vu, with highly repetitive choruses, and the odd chord change here and there that has the ability to almost make you think you've accidentally skipped back a few songs.

Standout tracks are easily "I'm Not Your Toy" and the aforementioned singles, but unfortunately the rest of the album tracks don't leave much of an impression, even though they really try to.

Overall, it's a fairly good pop album, but it suffers from the same fate as similarly-tipped Little Boots' debut, "Hands"; Some killer, but mostly filler.

Rating: C-