The Shins To Release New Album

Indie pop band The Shins are set to release their fourth album named Port of Morrow in March 2012. It is set to be released on James Mercer’s Aural Apothecary label while it has been recorded in LA and Portland. This will be the band’s first release since 2007’s Wincing The Night.

The track listing is as follows:

‘The Rifle’s Spiral’
‘Simple Song’
‘It’s Only Life’
‘No Way Down’
‘September’
‘Bait and Switch’
‘Fall of ’82’
‘For A Fool’
’40 Mark Strasse’
‘Port of Morrow’

This Month’s Playlist Update!

You can now see the December playlist at the top of this page under ‘This Month’s Playlist’. It features some cracking songs from Lana Del Ray, Jamie xx and this excellent track by The Maccabees

Top 15 Alternative Christmas Songs!

The Coca Cola advert has now been aired on TV which means Christmas is here. So I thought I would create a list of alternative Christmas songs where you can escape from the repeated drones of ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ and ‘Fairytale of New York’. Enjoy.

1. Low – Just Like Christmas

2. She and Him – Sleigh Ride

3. Mew – Snow Brigade

4. Bright Eyes – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

5. Death Cab For Cutie – Baby Please Come Home

6. Hot Hot Heat – Christmas Day In The Sun

7. Glasvegas – A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss)

8. Rilo Kiley – Christmas Cake

9. The Wombats – Is This Christmas?

10. Sufjan Stevens – Put The Lights On The Tree

11. The Walkmen – No Christmas While I’m Talking

12. Bright Eyes –Blue Christmas

13. Oasis – Merry Xmas Everybody

14. Ron Sexsmith – Maybe This Christmas

15. The Killers –¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe!

Snow Patrol ‘Fallen Empires’ Review

Snow Patrol return with their sixth studio release and the result is a mixed one. The band have stated that this release is musically a change of direction but nothing has really changed; the band still produced an album bursting with anthems; they have just scrapped the guitars and added synthesisers.

The synthesisers rarely blend well into the songs however when it does, as on the track In The End, the result is immense. Furthermore the album lacks consistency and focus, the songs that are electronica focussed don’t blend well with the ballad songs and in particular the more rock based anthem ‘This Is Isn’t Everything You Are’. At nearly an hour long the album is also too long and would have helped the consistency if some of the songs were scrapped, such as the awful ‘Called out in the Dark’.

Fallen Empires isn’t a terrible album and there are some truly great pop anthems whilst ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ has to be their best song yet. The problem really is that we have heard it before on their three previous releases.

Key Tracks: This Isn’t Everything You Are, In The End and Fallen Empires

Out Now!

Dead Sons ‘Boom Boom EP’ Review

Formed from the ashes of Milburn and The Backhanded Compliments, this Sheffield band have been likened to Arctic Monkeys, and whilst they will appeal to the Monkeys fans Dead Sons deserve to be seen in their own light, as this EP shows.

At only four songs this short EP is powerful, psychedelic and just bloody awesome. At first listen you will be overwhelmed by the catchiness and melody of the songs but on subsequent listen you can hear a very dark undertow, which is what surely will set them apart from the monkeys. ‘Shotgun Woman’ is a strong opener, whilst ‘Better Than Being Alone’ provides the EP with a slower and more emotional song, this shows the band are capable of layering and adding space into the songs. It is however ‘Bangonfullturn’ which is the highlight of the EP, the heavy bass mixed with some excellent guitar riffs should surely become an indie classic. Whilst Thomas Rowley vocals contain depth and uniqueness which make the songs very interesting to listen to.

This EP surely highlights the strength of the Sheffield music scene, whilst it highlights the incredible song writing ability from the band. It is unlikely this band will remain on the underground scene for too long, as this EP is surely a sample of what they can do; and if their album is anything as good as this then they might be the saviour of both the indie and Sheffield music scene.

Coldplay ‘Mylo Xyloto’ Review

I have never been much of a fan of Coldplay, there has been the odd song, but I felt they were pale imitations of bands like U2, Starsailor and in particular Death Cab for Cutie. I also felt they created songs for commercial release not because they actually meant something. But what of this album? Well it is Coldplay’s strongest, yet nothing much has really changed.

The band adopts heavy synthesisers for most of the songs, which are broken up by acoustic and electric guitars, creating a very rich and colourful instrumentation, but these do become very tiring after a while, as all the songs use the same tricks of acoustic guitar mixed with heavy bass and synthesisers, whilst the electric guitar occasionally makes an appearance;  whilst these are not used in a diverse enough way and so the album becomes repetitive.  It is, however, very pleasant to hear Coldplay embracing a more upbeat sound which is juxtaposed with some really lovely and tender slow songs. This creates a very well balanced album.

Coldplay usually have very clichéd lyrics; this album provides not only clichés but very poor ones: “I turn the music up, got my records on, I shut the world outside until the lights come on”, in fact these aren’t just poor, they are lazy; however this song (Every Tear is a Waterfall) does provide the strongest and most interesting instrumentation; using and blending synthesises with the sparingly used electric guitar. Rihanna’s vocals are very good on ‘Princess of China’ but Chris Martins voice pales in comparison, whilst it is the weakest (and most annoying) track off the album. Furthermore, the short interlude of songs doesn’t add any new depth to the album.

This albums seems like Coldplay are still trying to hold onto their commercial fame, firstly the collaboration with one of the biggest pop stars at present then they adopt the very current trend of synthesisers. So, whilst Coldplay have moved on from the shadows of U2 and Death Cab they still haven’t found their own identity. This isn’t a bad album and is the best I have heard by the band, but this year has provided some truly excellent albums which should be heard over this.

Key Songs: U.F.O, Paradise, Major Minus

Out Now!

Confirmed! Stone Roses Reunited

After several days of speculation the Manchester band has confirmed they are reuniting to play two homecoming shows before a world tour.

The news announced at 3pm today suggested that the band may record a new album; and they intended to play new material at the two homecoming shows in Heaton Park on June 29th and 30th 2012 and then embarking on a world tour. Ian Brown declared: “This is a live resurrection, and you’re invited, so you’d better be there”.

The members said each of them had personal reasons behind the reunion and when asked how long it would last Brown declared “until the wheels fall off”, he also criticised the current music scene calling it “boring, bland and corporate with nobody saying anything”.

So it seems the band has gotten over their differences (for now), you can buy tickets to see the band at Heaton Park from Friday 21 October when tickets are on sale at 9.30 am, but you’ll have to get behind me first.

The Stone Roses Reunited?

Rumours having been flying around since Friday that the Manchester band will be announcing their reunion on Tuesday, but according to The Sun (not exactly a reliable source) they have a confirmed text message from Ian Brown, the singer, which reads: “We are going to rule the world again. It’s happening.” Whilst, Elbow’s Guy Garvey have confirmed that the band have been rehearsing again.

However the drummer, Alan ‘Reni’ Wren, has denied any claims and has suggested that he is not involved in the band.

I’m not getting my hopes up until the announcement is made tomorrow, but if it is true, we can expect a tour next summer in Manchester Heaton Park and I will be first in line for tickets.

Essential Tracks Update

Click the ‘Essential Tracks You Have To Hear’ at the top of the page for this months top tunes. The list includes this massive stomper from Dead Sons.

Leonard Cohen Working On New Album

Adam Cohen has revealed that his father, Leonard Cohen, is currently working on a new album, this will be his first in seven years. Adam revealed that he has been working with the Hallelujah singer in a “consultant capacity” role, he dismissed that it was a collaboration but added “I’m very happy to listen to what’s being created and be asked for my opinions”.

Sony have claimed they have no details on the album.