Posts Tagged ‘video’


Video: Darkstar – ‘Gold’

September 30, 2010

I spent a week of so banging on about this band on Twitter earlier in the month. Darkstar are on Hyperdub (run by Kode9, home to Burial and Zomby), one of the key labels behind dubstep and related urban electronic music, but they sound very different. It wasn’t always this way – before they added vocalist James Buttery they released a couple of dub/dubstep-flavoured singles on their own 2010 label (Spotify here and here), and their first two singles on Hyperdub – ‘Need You’/’Squeeze My Lime’ and ‘Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer’ – were synth-heavy, skew-whiff garage. But the video below demonstrates their new direction.

A cover of an old Human League B-side (inspired by hearing it at 33rpm rather than 45rpm, apparently), ‘Gold’ leans heavily on that early-Eighties synth-pop sound but brings it up to date – fucked-with vocals and crisp modern production blend with plaintive piano and a gloomy atmosphere. It’s typical of an album that also includes ‘Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer’, a new version of ‘Squeeze My Lime’ (now called ‘When It’s Gone’) and seven new originals. North, is out on October 18. Mark my words, it’s one of the albums of the year.

Track List (key tracks in bold)

01 In the Wings
02 Gold
03 Deadness
04 Aidy’s Girl Is a Computer
05 Under One Roof
06 Two Chords
07 North
08 Ostkreuz
09 Dear Heartbeat
10 When It’s Gone

PS: I interviewed James Young from the band for AU – check out the next issue for that, I’ll post the PDF link next week.


Field Music video, cos they’re ace

February 17, 2010

Here’s another post by way of penance for that whoring I just did. I’m really loving the new Field Music album, Field Music (Measure). The video below is for the single ‘Them That Do Nothing’, and it’s pretty representative of the album, or as representative as one song can be of a 20-track double album. I’m only scratching the surface so far.

So if you like really strong, classic songwriting (The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Kinks, even a bit of Prince) with a skewed sense of rhythm, rampant creativity and expert playing/production, give it a bash. It’s a keeper.

By the way, the band play Dublin Crawdaddy on March 5 and Belfast Pavilion on March 6. I’ll be at the latter, bells-on style.


AU61: Ben Frost album review

January 4, 2010


What kind of perverse Australian ends up living and working in Reykjavik, Iceland? Exactly the kind that would make bleak, desolate music like this, I guess. Ben Frost runs the Bedroom Community collective/label with former Björk cohort Valgeir Sigurðsson and classical composer Nico Muhly, and this aptly titled third album is a sonic experience like few others. It’s arresting, forbidding stuff. Frost operates on the boundary between modern classical (à la Jóhann Jóhannsson) and electronic noise/drone, and for fans of Fennesz and Tim Hecker, By The Throat will be manna. The stormy ‘Killshot’ and the seriously unsettling ‘Ó God Protect Me’ – which samples what sounds like the snatched gasps of a hospital patient – outline Frost’s mission from the beginning. If this is a window into his soul, then you have to fear for him, for the whole album is dripping with a sense of creeping dread. And it’s a physical experience as much as an aural or emotional one – Frost uses gut-punching bass pressure and ear-splitting noise as sonic punctuation amongst the synthesisers, field recordings and classical instrumentation. There are guest appearances from Sigur Rós collaborators Amiina, Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara and the aforementioned Muhly, but this is no-one’s vision but Frost’s. It’s fearless and it’s frightening and it demands to be heard shit-your-pants loud.




AU60: Why? album review

November 17, 2009

Biggest disappointment of the year, hands down. 😦 It does, however, contain one of my favourite songs of 2009 in ‘This Blackest Purse’. Give it a listen down at the bottom of the post.


Forgive me for diving headlong into the first person here, but I wanted to love this record so much. Maybe too much. Why?’s last album Alopecia was my favourite of 2008 – it was pure perfection, full of charm, wit, intelligence, raw honesty, unforgettable lyrics and the best marriage of hip-hop grooves to slacker-pop songwriting since Odelay. So when I discovered that another record was to be plucked from the same sessions, my expectations for Eskimo Snow became unattainably high Or so it has proved, because unfortunately there are only a few songs here good enough to have made it onto Alopecia and that, while acknowledging that the two albums are strikingly different in style, mood and tone (Eskimo Snow is dark and introspective, almost an alt. country record), constitutes a real disappointment.

Yoni Wolf is incapable of writing poor lyrics and his unique style, heavy on arresting imagery and dextrous wordplay, is fully intact here, but for large parts the songs are not. In deciding which ones went where, Wolf appears to have overplayed his hand, overloading Alopecia with his best stuff. It’s not all bad news, mind you, because penultimate song ‘This Blackest Purse’ is gorgeous, affecting and one of Wolf’s best, while bookends ‘These Hands’ and the title track are almost painfully tender and ‘One Rose’ and ‘Against Me’ have much to recommend them. But although the two albums share the same genes, it’s clear which one is the black sheep of the family.




BATS review in NME

October 12, 2009


This is a bit of an ambition fulfilled, so I’m fairly chuffed. I got my first ever review in a nationally (i.e. UK) distributed mag this week when my review of BATS in Belfast was printed by the NME. Yay! It’s on p.49 of the current issue (Kurt Cobain cover) if you’re interested. I’ll post it up here at the end of the week when the new issue is out.

Oh, and as a bonus here’s their brand spanking new video. The album Red In Tooth And Claw slays: go and buy it.

SHADOW FUCKING from Digital Beast on Vimeo.

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