Tuesday, 20 December 2011

New Logo Installed.

Hello everyone. I've spent a few minutes throwing together a logo to make the blog look a little more professional. The guitar used is a Fender jaguar, and the text style is derived from the original FarCry logo. Luckily I managed to make it fit perfectly, seeing as the colour is in a gradient.

Let me know what you think, now for that album review...

Monday, 19 December 2011

2 Album Reviews Incoming

Christ, keeping up with this blogging business isn't as easy as it looks!  Luckily now I have 2 weeks off for xmas and will be able to write some decent content. 2 Album reviews are fast approaching, The Strokes - Angles and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - S/T will arrive in the next few days. Thanks for reading and your patience, I won't be long.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Tame Impala - Innerspeaker - My Take

I come to you today with an absolute gem of an album. Innerspeaker is the debut effort by Australian psychedelic trio Tame Impala, who have been impressing at festival venues all summer. Not mention supporting heavyweights such as Foo Fighters and MGMT on international tours.

Innerspeaker got me on the first listen, hook line and sinker. If you have as much a soft spot as I for music a little different, down the psychedelic path perhaps, I'm sure you'll love this. Should you be after the quickest way I can sum it up, I'll say the music sounds the same as the cover looks. They suit each other perfectly.

Now for the real low-down; The album is awash with swirling guitars and low in the mix synthesisers creating a picturesque sonic landscape. It's Not Meant To Be eases the listener in with some gentle wah groove licks, as a bright, clean rhythm guitar is whispered through wide right. The chorus provides a taster for a running theme throughout the album, incredibly catchy melodies that bring it all back together after the parts seem to wander off in their different directions. Another prime example of this is on my track of the album, Alter Ego. 60's psychedelia is truly alive and well. If you introduced a friend to Innerspeaker and told them it was from 1970 I promise they wouldn't even suspect otherwise. 

It looks back to all the best parts of the era, using guitars instead of electronics to create the magnificent landscapes. It's worth mentioning part of the nostalgic old-school feel of the album must be attributed to lead vocalist Kevin Parker's voice, which is eerily similar to John Lennon's. Fuzz guitars and classic sounding Tom's give the listening experience a great feel all the way through. It's just so impressive that 3 Australian fellas have been inspired by the 60's era and created such a fresh and modern take on the whole experience. 

Overall, Innerspeaker is not a world beater. Parts of the album feel staggered, like they were created in jam sessions that don't quite hit the bullseye. The Bold Arrow of Time starts promisingly with a Hendrix-esque fuzzed Fender Strat style intro, but ultimately doesn't go anywhere interesting. Jeremy's Storm also seems to forget what it's doing for a little too long, it's quite tough not to skip it after the first stages. 

I thoroughly advise you to listen to Innerspeaker. Not only is it a refreshing take on 60's psyche, it embarrasses a lot of modern bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters, who could have done something different this year, but instead decided to stick to a tried and tested formula. Let's hope Tame Impala aren't as unwilling to branch out into other avenues. Hell, even Justin Bieber is rapping these days.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Upcoming Review - Tame Impala

I will be posting my review of Tame Imapala's 'Innerspeaker' on Friday. It's a psychedelic indie style release that has had plenty of very positive reviews. Apologies for the slow updates, the winter nights are drawing in and it's getting toward the busiest time of the year for everyone!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Benton Craze

News travels fast.  On Sunday a youtube video appeared of a hilarious deer/dog/man chase. The fact that it was trending worldwide so shortly after upload highlights the sheer power of internet communication. Today it is still trending in others forms. An instant meme. For the few who haven't seen this:

Just a quick update, found this absolutely hilarious, as did most. Apparently the owner could face charges if any animals were injured. He's a lucky boy that no cars were involved. Pretty sure he'd be lawyer-ing up otherwise.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Purchase - MacBook Pro 13"

Update time. As part of my university course (and fees) I have now ended up with a 13" Macbook Pro, something I never thought I'd own. Somewhat unfortunately for me, I'm a complete Apple noob, having only purchased an iPod touch prior to this, but I have to say I am thoroughly impressed.

I'm actually doing a degree in Audio Production, which involves production, mixing, MIDI programming and other such skills. Apple have exclusive rights to Logic, which is one of the highest quality Digital-Audio Workstations, so students basically require an Apple computer to complete the work. Any way I won't bore you with that any longer.

What I wanted to talk about and discuss is your personal impression on Macs and MacBooks compared to PC's. I found the user interface to be a lot clearer and enjoyable to operate, some of the tasks performed are outrageously quick compared to a PC.Currently enjoy it so much I may even be tempted to take out insurance on it, if it turns out not to be included in the home cover.

So, in good time I'll be able to give you my full opinion on the MacBook Pro, but for now I want to hear your views. With running both a medium-high end gaming PC and the latest Pro there are definitely comparisons to be made.

Pc or Mac? Both? What do you prefer?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Future Of The Internet

It's not often many of us stop to consider where information technology will be in 5 to 10 years time. I've decided to dedicate a post to this very subject, as some of the possibilities are truly worrying.

As I write to you, the main English service provider, BT, is under pressure to block The Pirate Bay from any access on their service. The site as we all know is infamous for having vast quantities of pirated and stolen information content, from movies to documents. This is something we could see happening on a much larger scale in the future, in a bid to stop all illegal content flow on the web.

If you have a couple of minutes, watch this rather interesting clip on a proposition by the entertainment king-pins.

See what I mean? I'm by no means saying that pirating content is right. Of course, it is not. My lecturer recently suggested: What if in 10 years time the internet is closer to your premium TV subscription? It's plausible to believe service providers will sell 'packages' with access to certain sites only in a bid to prevent piracy. It all depends on how much pressure the fat cats want to apply.  We could be on our way to a very dark era of information communication indeed.

The internet is one of the final places on earth which facilitates for free speech and freedom itself. We cannot afford to let it fall under control to an entity, or we lose our own online privacy as well as freedom. If you have no privacy how can you ever be free?

You may recall an earlier post of mine stating that piracy was the cancer killing the music industry. It may well kill online freedom as a whole if we let bills like PROTECT-IP pass.

Eager to hear your thoughts on this.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Small Update

Whilst I've been busy with lectures and the like, writing content has not been easy to fit in. However I will be posting something very interesting involving the future of the internet very soon.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You - My Take

This is going to be a tough one. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band close to my heart, I will try not to let this affect an honest review.

Remember the distinctive guitar parts of Under The Bridge? Give It Away? Californication? Snow? John Frusciante, the creator of those amazing riffs has left, and is replaced by long time friend and collaborator Josh Klinghoffer. Being a huge fan of John, his departure made myself and many others (including the remaining members) consider the future of the band and what it can be without him. Anthony and Flea eventually decided 'onwards & upwards' so here we are with 'I'm With You'

The first thing you'll notice is that Josh has chosen his own path, a path which does not see him replicate Frusciante's virtuoso licks and chops, with often raw to the core emotion driven solos. This works well on a few levels, but the problem is when it comes to the soloing itself, it's almost as if he isn't interested. Both The Adventures of Raindance Maggie and Factory of Faith have low key, low on the neck solos with well spaced but not at all interesting note combos. A downside to his otherwise warming textural playing if ever there was one.

Soon enough you arrive at Brendan's Death Song; widely accepted to be one of the top 20 songs the band has made, no mean feat when you consider the quantity of rock chat #1's RHCP have had, more than any other band in fact. It's brilliant, one of the few songs on the record that actually invokes some kind of emotion within an album that sadly is nowhere near as effective as By The Way or Stadium Arcadium.

Chad favours disco-styled beats throughout, which brings an interesting twist on the band’s works. He’s a little less in your face this time around and quite frankly is on absolutely top form with bassist Flea (Who was recently voted #2 bassist of all time in Rolling Stone) With this in mind, it begs the question (to myself) why isn’t the album as engaging and catchy?

The album for me is littered with small flashes of brilliance on sheer plateaus of blandness. Annie Wants A Baby has some fantastic moments, the swaying guitar, and the gently sung ‘sent along the way’ is a truly effective melody. The guitar work here most reminds me of Frusciante, perhaps that’s why it’s my personal favourite.  There are a couple niggling things; For one I find that Anthony isn’t supported strongly enough with background vocals, too often his voice just doesn’t quite cut it when holding the extra syllables. As well as this, the emotion is pretty much there, but the cryptic and often exciting lyrics of albums passed are not as present. Pretty much every message conveyed on the album is written on a billboard for all to see.

 File:RHCP I'm With You Cover.jpg

I think overall I’m With You is a Mother’s Milk of sorts. Josh is asking himself ‘what does this band’s fan base need from me?’ Similarly to John when he replaced Hillel Slovak. The band is effectively new. It’s by no means a failure but it doesn’t quite live up to their high standards. If I may make one more point, it is that the name 'I'm With You' is a very bad choice. It's not at all memorable nor enjoyable to have bouncing around your head. 'Uplift Mofo Party Plan' is more like it.

So, is there a Blood Sugar Sex Magik coming up next?  Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your views, feel free to share with fellow RHCP fans.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Samsung Omnia 7 - Phone Review

Right then time for a phone review. I have owned the Samsung Omnia 7 for long enough to deliver an honest verdict, and that's what you'll get.

Perhaps it is somewhat fitting, today it was reported that Samsung has overtaken Apple in the highly competitive smartphone manufacturing market.  Anyway, the Omnia 7 utilizes the highly attractive Windows Phone 7 interface, which personally I highly approve of. The interaction feels silky smooth, the button areas are perfectly sized on the main screen, and the slightly offset positioning works very well both functionally and aesthetically. The theme itself is pretty much everywhere you look in terms of apps, which themselves appear to be limited in quantity but not quality for WP7 handsets.

The phone itself is a little too large for my liking, it's not quite small enough for you to be able to reach any button without shuffling it in your palm, which will often result in a drop. I'm not joking here, the polished metal back of the phone is ridiculously slippery, making the handset an absolute nightmare to keep a grip on. I eventually dropped mine one too many times and cracked the (expensive) 4" glass screen rather badly. I've been informed it will cost £100 to repair. If you intend to purchase an Omnia 7 do yourself a favour; DO NOT let friends hold it, they will drop it, 100% guaranteed.

Speaking of the screen, it's a damn good one. The 4" high contrast AMOLED touch display looks fantastic from every angle and at the time of release was the leader of the pack in terms of visuals. It's 5.0 camera, although very prone to shake (anti-shake mode is available) , is solid and should be more than sufficient for the majority of owners.

In summary, The Samsung Omnia 7 is a great handset and generally an enjoyable experience. Browsing is a breeze, and the speaker sound quality is good compared to the iPhone and other such competitors. The apps are indeed limited currently, and it is a nightmare to keep a hold of but if you get yourself a case you have a fantastic piece of kit in your hands. Now about that £100 repair...

If you have any further questions don't hesitate to ask via comments.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Wombats - This Modern Glitch - My Take

'Indie Landfill' is a term often associated with Liverpudlian three-piece The Wombats.

Bands commonly classified as this genre include The Pigeon Detectives, The View, The Kooks and Scouting for Girls. The bands are characterised by a softer, less aggressive sound than earlier bands (compare with The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys). - Wikipedia

But whether you classify them into that group or not now appears to be irrelevant, after an even catchier, even more fun follow up to A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation was released earlier this year. The deliciously fetching past guitar parts in the style of Moving To New York and Let's Dance to Joy Division are almost completely absent in favour of some fantastic new synth melodies and bass driven tracks.

It speaks volumes that the label has allowed 6 single releases from the album so far. That's funding 6 videos and single pressings as well as the Radio 1 air-play fees. This implies that the label has some serious faith in the tracks themselves, and their chances of selling.

Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves) was the first track to surface and upon first listen it was clear the album was to take a new direction. Track 1 of the album however is ‘Our Perfect Disease’ which introduces a quite danceable side to the Wombat’s music which becomes a recurring theme throughout the album. Jump In To The Fog is somewhat minimalist yet very effective, 6 notes on a synth make up the entire main melody of the song, yet it has a rough and aggressive distortion guitar finale. Anti-D takes a little look over the shoulder taking inspiration from Blur and The Verve in this string-laden ballad, it’s at this point you begin to realise the darker themes for the record.

Almost every song on the album has an enjoyable and strangely uplifting take on a negative theme, that’s a little refreshing and must be recognised. Such was my satisfaction with the album that I went to see them live last month and truth be told it was the most enjoyable gig I’ve had the pleasure of attending. The guys put on a real party for us all and I’m confident there was no one in the room who didn’t thoroughly enjoy the night. The personal highlight for me was the performance of  my album favourite ‘1996’. I urge you check that song out if you need an introduction.

The Wombats will almost never be taken seriously. Singer and songwriter Matt Murphy is a clever chap and capable of writing good tunes, but none of them will ever be virtuoso musicians or song writers that touch the masses. By throwing out fun , danceable indie rock tunes they stick to their best qualities, and put smiles on faces.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


This is going to be something of a departure from my usual posts.

On Monday night I went to my first foam party in a club in Oxford. It started pretty slowly but by the end it was pretty crazy, the whole foam out of a cannon at people dancing thing is ridiculous fun. The thing is, the people who care how they are dancing stop caring because you're knee deep in bubbles any way, it ends up like a close range snowball fight disco blur. Everyone generally has a great time and there is way more interaction between people who don't know each other. I highly recommend trying something like this at your local venue, but prepare to freeze your ass off when you leave!

I'm interesting to hear about some interesting parties and party formats you've been to, so don't hesitate to drop a comment.


Friday, 14 October 2011

Foster The People - Torches - My Take

I'm not entirely sure how the LA trio emerged into radioplay in the U.S., but for us in the UK it is likely we all share a similar story. Radio 1 is playing, it's about 2pm and Greg James, despite being a talented DJ, has little choice but to play the commercial club garbage that Radio 1 are paid to play. He announces his record of the week as Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks enthusiastically and proceeds to play it. The gentle playful bass line is catchier than anything played all day, these are musicians playing actual instruments for a change. The chorus hook is even more addictive and the song goes down a treat.

The promising signs persuaded me to investigate their upcoming album further, and what I found was more of the same. Mark Foster and his people have a keen eye for a catchy melody, with every song on Torches, whether it be an entire chorus or a little flash of brilliance, there is evidence of this. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here though, there are people out there calling Torches unique, to which they are incorrect; Many places on Torches have been passed through before by MGMT and Vampire Weekend amongst others. Foster's style being similar to VanWyngarden's proves to be a little more than coincidental.

Let's look at some tracks then, the trio of top tier songs upon the first listens are Pumped Up Kicks, Helena Beat, and Houdini. The latter of which I believe to be the best on the album for a little while. Don't Stop, Waste and I Would Do Anything For You all have great choruses at least. Life on the Nickel and Miss You are the weaker tracks on the album with noticeably less appeal to most. That said there isn't really a 'bad' song on the album per se.

They saved the best until last though, the final track Warrant is an absolute gem which will almost certainly get no radio play. The Disney meets Brian Eno introduction is faded to swelling, flickering drums before finding an uplifting bass line, which is eventually met by an equally boosting piano, it really does put a smile on your face in the right circumstance. Mark delivers his most sincere message yet to close what I believe to be one of the albums of the year.

Thanks for reading, I'd love to hear your views on this album in the comments.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

It is worth noting that I'll be posting up a review of this album within the next couple of days. Apologies for my slow updates I've been doing university work amongst other commitments. Stay tuned for my take on one of the albums of the year so far.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Why The Music Industry Is How It is

In your heart of hearts you all know the reason. The reason why no one can get recording contracts except the likes of Jessie J, Kesha and [insert generic popstar who can barely sing]. Even when contracts are handed out these days, the majority are what is called a '360 deal'.

The 360 deal is all encompassing, the traditional deal involved giving the artist an advance to record an album, then the company taking most of the proceeds from sales and the artist taking a significant chunk of live performance revenue. This is no longer the case, the 360 deal again sees an advance and expenses for recording an album, but the record company then takes most of everything. Album sales? Check. Live performances? Check. Television and film royalties? Check. The average pop star is likely to make less than 20p per CD sale in 2011.

The reason for all this is of course is illegal music downloading. Pretty much everyone does it, that's a given. The record companies have no money because no one is buying records any more. They have to aim specifically for artists who tailor to the target audience (the minority purchasing records). That minority is in fact the youngest of the teenagers (who were invented in the 50s specifically to purchase records). Kid hears catchy song without any depth, kid likes song because it's aimed at their age group, kid asks parents to buy CD. Game over.

It used to be different. People used to buy records, everyone did, and that allowed some of the money to go elsewhere. There used to be Michael Jackson, Led Zep, Queen, Elton John all making tonnes of cash which was filtered through the companies, some of which would be re-invested to develop rising artists. Record companies were prepared to risk money on artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns n Roses and Metallica. Even up to the days of Eminem, Linkin Park and Muse. Now they need guaranteed returns on their investments without question, so Jessie J and Kesha is what we get until people start buying music again. It's up to us really, it's a shame free is infinitely more attractive than £10.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Endtroducing 2

Music that speaks to the soul is not what you expect to find, but it is indeed what you get with Endtroducing.

I swear I just heard a wookie over a breakbeat. The range of sampling in the record is so diverse and so creative that you have no idea what to expect next. Shadow has not just created a piece of art with this record, but an environment, a universe of it's own. Merely a collection of notes can invoke emotions and feelings, granted, but the real talent here is how Shadow can make the listener feel through the use of sampling, there is no 'I've heard this before' or 'This sounds familiar' whatsoever; the record is completely unique, ground-breaking and ahead of it's time, some may need reminding this was released in the mid 90's where every other teenager wasn't sitting in their bedroom with some production and sequencing software at hand.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


I've just embarked on the journey of listening to DJ Shadow's Endtroducing.

So far I have been exposed to a clever intro piece, a haunting piano floating under and over fast, but well spaced and not entirely in your face drumming, and a flanging wah-ing guitar section creeping in and out. I'm in no position to give a true opinion on this album and won't be for a few more listens, but it's completely blowing me away. This sounds fantastic on an overcast Saturday lunch time, making me wonder what would be the perfect environment for listening to such a record.

Go away and listen to some of this if you haven't, I'll enjoy discussing it at a later date.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Good evening friends,

As you might expect this will be used for several things. I'm happy to review albums, movies and games, and  will be posting personal updates too. I guess it's worth mentioning that my goal in life is to become an audio engineer and or producer, with other music related projects intertwined.

Currently experience the drastic change of going from full time work to full time education. More free time, much less cash.

That will do for this evening, I promise to post more interesting discussions in the coming days.

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