Saturday, 30 January 2010

Single Review : Massive Attack - Girl I Love You (She Is Danger Remix)

It has been seven long years since the last Massive Attack LP ‘100th Window’, an album that underwhelmed critics and fans alike. In reality, since two of three original members were not present (Mushroom having left and Daddy G on leave), it was more of a Del Naja (aka 3D) solo affair. With Daddy G back firmly back in the fold, Massive Attack’s new LP ‘Heligoland’ (released Feb 8th) has got to be one of the most highly anticipated albums to drop this year.

Girl I Love You’ sees long time collaborator Horace Andy return on vocals (he is the only guest vocalist to appear on all 5 Massive Attack LPs). Best known for providing vocals on the 1998 hit ‘Angel’, Andy’s distinctive croon has become almost intrinsic to the band’s whole sound. ‘Girl I Love You’ is certainly an improvement on last year’s ‘Splitting The Atom’ (which, incidentally, also featured Andy on vocals and will appear on ‘Heligoland’), a relatively forgettable tune compared to the band’s superior back-catalogue. This new song is as brooding and textured as you’d expect from the ‘trip-hop’ pioneers, and the great use of brass instruments provides the trademark menacing edge, an edge that has been missing on the last few releases (the evil, alarming trumpets towards the end sound almost Hitchcock-ian!).

The ‘She is Danger’ remix of ‘Girl I Love You’ is superb. Less sinister than the original, but by no means less seductive, the building bass line will stay with you long after you’ve pressed ‘stop.’ Andy’s vocals are slightly more apparent on this tune, whereas they’re left somewhat in the background on the original (intentionally so, I imagine, to help create the moody atmostphere).

All in all, the remix is a slightly more enjoyable listen. But Massive Attack don’t set out to make immediate, danceable tunes, they set out to make challenging and experimental music, and ‘Girl I Love You’ (Original Mix) is one of the best Massive Attack songs since the 90s."

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Album Review : Robin Grey - Strangers With Shoes

The genre of Folk is a grey area of music for me, with numerous factors affecting my levels of receptiveness at any given point in time. For example I'm much more likely to enjoy folk during the Winter months, in front of the fire, thinking of family and friends, compared to the Summer when its nice and hot, and I want to put on some uplifting Drum and Bass. That being said there is a small list of Folk artists (namely The Swell Season, Laura Marling, Mumford And Sons) who make my ipod playlist all year round. Hoping to join the list is London's Robin Grey, with his sophomore album Strangers With Shoes.

Opening with "Younger Looking Skin", we are quickly introduced us to Robin's soft vocals, which although not hitting the high notes does possess a certain level of depth. This depth makes it easy to connect with what he is trying to say through his lyrics, which is important because his vocals are what really takes him above his piers. His every day commentary of normal life inject a refreshing shot of energy into a genre which can sometimes get bogged down with too much heavy emotion and feelings.

Although a one man recording artist in his self confessed "small white room with a blue door" in sleepy Hackney, Grey has wisely enlisted the help of several musicians to assist him in producing this album. Most notably female backing vocals which always seem to add an extra layer of substance when getting a point across, particularly on "Till Dawn" and "Shakes & Shudders".

"Ninety Days" is the stand out track on the album for me, with Grey combining Folk with Blues, as well as tackling a tough topic of relationship breakups. The lyrics are bleak yet honest, and the simple line of "yeah, well fuck you" resonates with you throughout the day. Coupled with that the slow and moody nature of the piano and drums, you are left with a song which is near faultless.

Despite Robin Grey producing a superb second album, it unfortunately may still go unnoticed this year, as it is swept aside by artists with big budget PR campaigns and those who are matey with radio DJ's and alike. However there will be at least one account with the album high in the play charts come the end of the year, as Strangers In Shoes is about to enjoy an extended residency on my ipod play list this year.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

New Music : Marvin The Martian - Loose Change

Marvin The Martian gave Music Liberation our first ever exclusive back in April 2008, with the debut airing of "Fresh Kick Feeling" on our podcast for that month. Since then the UK rapper has gone on to release mixtapes, singles, and his debut full length "Devil In The Distance". After being unceremoniously dropped by Universal (alongside N-Dubz - go figure!) Marvin is returning in 2010 to show he means business and will not go away quietly.

Loose Change is a hard hitting track which showcases Marvin's acute talent for spitting lyrics which provide a commentary of street life. The beats are heavy too, leaning towards the dupstep movement which has swept the UK over the past year.

With another mixtape on the horizon, as well as a full scale single lined up for the Spring, Marvin The Martian is name you'll want to keep an eye out for once again.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Single Review : Chapel Club - O Maybe I

Chapel Club first came to our attention late last year, thanks in part to considerable airtime given to their debut single "Surfacing" from Radio 1's Zane Lowe, as well as featuring in numerous 2010 tip polls. The first test of their credentials has arrived in the form of new single "O Maybe I", which is released through East City/Polydor on February 22nd.

The track begins with Rich Mitchell's pounding stick beating, which almost sounds as if it's a call to arms, a signal that this band mean major business. It's confident, almost arrogant, and I like that. Moving swiftly on we are introduced to the bleak yet enthralling vocals of Lewis Bowman. In some quarters it sounds as if he really had better places to be when recording these vocals, and yet that's the beauty of it, as a listener you actually take more notice, trying to suss out if that's related to the lyrics or could he really not be arsed. I'm almost certain he could be, and is actually playing to the strengths of his voice very well.

The track ends with a crescendo of scuzzy guitars, which although not featuring heavily on this track will surely be more prominent on others, which will be very pleasing to the ear. Hopefully we may be treated to a debut album later this year, which will surely feature in many 2010 lists if the strength of their opening two singles are anything to go by.

Release Date : 22.02.10 /// Label : East City / Polydor

*MP3 removed by request*

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Single Review : Teenagersintokyo – Peter Pan (+ The Horrors Remix)

Teenagersintokyo are a five-piece electro pop band from Sydney, not Tokyo. In fact, they are not even teenagers. Perhaps never have been. Consisting of four women and just the one male, the band has been together for a decade since the girls met at school (drummer Rudy is a more recent addition to the band). They recently packed up their stuff and moved over here to London to reach a wider audience, and instantly secured themselves a solid fan base and support from the likes of Zane Lowe.

Teenagersintokyo are readying the release of their debut album, which was recorded in the Welsh countryside with David Kosten (Bat For Lashes producer). Perhaps Kosten can be credited with the haunting, atmospheric edge that new single ‘Peter Pan’ contains. Although the band’s CSS comparisons are not ill founded, Teenagersintokyo attach a more serious, new wave component to the CSS art-rock sound; the jagged, indie riffs play backseat to the moody keyboards and vocals. It takes a couple of listen, but you soon begin to understand why more and more people are beginning to make a fuss about them.

Impressively, the single also includes a remix by uber-trendy, post-punks The Horrors. This remix is almost unrecognizable, having removed the art-rock riffs and altered the vocals to create a 80s inspired, minimal electro tune. Three minutes longer than the original, it starts off simple and repetitive before picking up the pace towards the end. An interesting little remix from The Horrors, but the electronic vocals do get rather grating after a couple of listens. Not a patch on Teenagersintokyo’s original.

Official Release Date : 01.03.10 /// Label : Back Yard Recordings

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

New Music : Renegades

Remember Feeder? Buck Rogers and drinking "cider from a lemon" and all that? Well the band are still going strong, with 2010 seeing the release of their seventh studio album. To bridge the gap of recently losing drummer Mark Richardson back to Skunk Anansie, original members Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose have joined up with Karl Brazil to put together a short term side project with the name of Renegades. They are releasing a 4 track self titled EP, as well as playing several low key gigs across the UK, before heading into the studio over the Summer to resume Feeder duties.

In all honestly the tracks don't stray too far away from that "Feeder" sound, although the three pronged dimension will lend itself to them sounding more abrasive on the live scene. The EP isn't going to break any new ground this year, but its fun, and sometimes we all need reminding that that quality can be as important as musical integrity and being on the "cool" list of the year.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Band Review : Sir Yes Sir

Oddly enough, the first word that comes to mind after listening to some tracks by Sir Yes Sir, is melodic. Maybe I’m delusional, but the boys have somehow managed to mask some intense melodies by equally intense guitar riffs and percussion without making it sound like a cat mating with a caribou. Awful analogies aside, its nice to hear a band with a harder edge using the talent of vocals.

Sir Yes Sir, originate from Manchester (UK), and were originally formed by Daniel Cowley (Bass) and Joseph Logan (Guitar), and have since recruited Sam Turner on Drums. It appears to me that these newcomers have a lot to offer. We all know how frequently bands change their sounds and styles, and I believe that Sir Yes Sir are going to develop some really great work in the future. Creating a contrast in music is something I find very attractive, and something this trio do quite well. This is a band you’re going to want to pay attention to, there is sure to be some stellar developments in the future.

Sir Yes Sir will be releasing their very first EP "Not Excited" with Hope Club Records on March 1st, with their debut album being released March 29th. Check out their video for “Not Excited”.

ED : This is the first article from one of Music Liberation new writers, Seth Parker, who runs the excellent Music Juices blog. I suggest you check it out!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

EP Review : Antidotes - Adventures Closer To Home

Based out of Bath, UK come Antidotes, a young four-piece who met whilst at school in 2008 and have been honing their tunes ever since. Consistent touring in both Bath and Bristol led to the band recording their debut EP in December of last year. Titled "Adventures Closer To Home" it was recorded at Gatehouse studios in Swindon.

Opening track "Football Is A Sport" has intricate guitar picking and off kilter drumming, albeit no vocals, which lulls you into thinking that Antidotes are indeed an instrumental post rock band. However "Advance" quickly removes those thoughts with its fast tempo, and random chants of "Advance" which alongside its strong bassline quite easily gets stuck in your mind. With easily one the best song titles I've come across so far in 2010, "Whatever Happens On The Sofa, Stays On The Sofa", almost comes across as a young Biffy Clyro, with almost spoken vocals, combined chants of "Na Na Na" and Punk drum patterns and guitar riffs.

The final track of this short EP is "George, Tell Me About The 80's", and is the bands most expansive track at over 4 minutes long. It is actually the track which shows the clear potential of this band as they combine the individuals traits of the previous songs all in on go, creating a varied tempo, part instrumental, part punk rock track which leaves you wanting much much more than the 12 minute odd record we are treated to. With plenty more gigging in their local area and perhaps further afield, I'm sure in 12 months time I'll looking forward to reviewing a full length album from this exciting and promising young band.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Single Review : Ali Love - Love Harder

Ali Love is perhaps still best known for providing the vocals on the 2007 Chemical Brothers track ‘Do It Again’. Why he has yet to gain notoriety for his own merits remains a mystery. Thing were looking promising in 2007; two independently released singles led to major label Columbia snapping him up, only to be hastily dropped a few months later after singles ‘Sunday Secret Lover’ and ‘Late Night Session’ underperformed. Consequently, his completed debut album ‘Love Music’ has yet to see the light of day.

As of 2009 Ali Love has a new (indie) record deal and with new single ‘Love Harder’ about to drop, 2010 could be the year that he’ll be recognized for his own recordings. The track comes across like a slightly more sinister Cut Copy, with a synth-laden, disco sound providing the perfect platform for Love’s Prince-esque vocals. An extended, brooding intro starts things off, and the song slowly builds up to a head-bopping climax with catchy, layered vocals. Instantly infectious, the track is even more memorable that Love’s previous single ‘Diminishing Returns’, which came out late last year.

This breed of 80s influenced electro-pop may not appeal to everyone, but since pop stars like La Roux have given the genre some much needed exposure, perhaps Ali Love will reach a wider audience this year. Alongside the release of the single look out for forthcoming remixes by Prins Thomas, Andy George & Jaymo and Mighty Mouse. It's released through Back Yard Recordings on February 22nd.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Future Sounds of 2010

Before Music Liberation starts up again next week after our festive break, with our regular dose of new music album and single reviews, I thought we may as well throw our two penny's worth into the future tips for music types in 2010. Don't worry I'll be brief!

The Muscle Club - After releasing the well received EP "Fragmented Ideas From Young Lungs" and touring across the UK in 2009, this young indie pop band from South Wales should hopefully take the next step up the success ladder this year. The Muscle Club

Marina And The Diamonds - We first discovered Marina last March with the delightful "Obsessions", which showcased her infectious vocals and talent for a pop hook. Her debut album "The Family Jewels" will be released February 15th and big things are expected. Marina And The Diamonds

Turbowolf - Crazy thrash pop indie meltdown from Bristol's own Turbowolf. Expect epic solo's and satanic vocals interspersed with plenty of poppy hooks on their debut record which is out later this year. Turbowolf

Fenech Soler - Signed to the ever impressive Moda Music label, Fenech Soler took off last year with the release of single "Lies", and return in early 2010 with the equally catchy "Stop And Stare". Fenech Soler

Ellie Goulding - A relative unknown maybe 3 or 4 months ago, Ellie Goulding is everywhere now thanks in no small part to topping the BBC's tips for 2010. Her style of combining Folk with Pop is nothing new, yet there is something about her almost tentative vocals that draw you in. The real test is with "Lights" her debut LP which is out in March through Polydor. Ellie Goulding

George Lenton - A UK producer we have been tracking for some time, who was picked up last year on the BBC Asian network with a superb mini mix, along side some super remixes (One More Time) and the dubstep smasher "Troll", he could well be reaching this year. George Lenton

Casiokids - Everything we heard from Norwegian electro indie pop group Casiokids we absolutely loved last year, so we're very much hoping for the same level of awesomeness in 2010. Casiokids

Joy Orbison - One of the hottest producers in Electronic music right now, releasing the massive "Hyph Mngo" late last year to much critical acclaim. Little is known about this young 22 year old, but much will be expected from future releases this year. Joy Orbison

Would you like to write for Music Liberation? We are currently looking for new writers ahead of a busy year in new music. Hit us up at if you are!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Moker’s Top Ten Albums of 2009

Well this was actually much more tricky than anticipated. Since my heroin like addiction to Spotify developed, I’ve gone off the musical beaten track somewhat and end up taking swerving journeys through The Waterboys’ back catalog, Brian Eno’s experimental ambient albums and hideous amounts of French dance, most notably M83. In this age of mouth watering musical emancipation I don’t seem listen to many new releases unless I review them. So with these encouraging words in mind here’s my somewhat skewed list of 2009’s top releases (in no particular order):

Bats – Red in Tooth & Claw
Mouth watering math-core with clever metal riffs and excellent vocals from these lesser known Dubliners. Unique, textured and full of attitude, it’s an absolute all round winner.

Vladislav Delay – Tummaa
Eno-come-Aphex Twin style ambient stylings that are not quite music, and not quite abstract noise but together make a superb, sophisticated and emotional whole.

Diarmaid O’Meara – Structured Noise
A techno album that is less about cliché and more about solid, unforgiving hypnotic beats. A total energetic gem.

The XX – XX
Probably the most anticipated “indie” release this year that managed to hold it’s own despite the hype. This subtle and delicate record is barefaced in swimming against the current tide of it's peers. Fantastic.

Nirvava – Live At Reading
Yes, more raping Nirvana’s back catalog – But instead of shite demos we get a full recording of their legendary ’92 set which is out and out scrappy punk rock. Still worth dipping in and out of more than most albums.

U2 – No Line on the Horizon
More comebacks from rock dinosaurs, but this record is the best thing since The Joshua Tree. It might be cringe worthy but this reminds us why, despite reticence, we all have at least one U2 song we really like. Bloody Bono.

Gallows – Grey Britain
Incomprehensibly and relentlessly British, Gallows have classic punk running through their viens but manage to sound contemporary and exciting. Where the British metal scene should be heading.

Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
Stunning second offering from Natasha Khan that's so slick, spangly and well produced you just want to take a bite out of it. Deep, harmonious and adventurous.

Alan Wilkis – Pink & Purple EP
Yes, it’s not an album and yes I reviewed it for Music Liberation, but I’ve listened to it since. Phat, funky and more danceable that almost everything else, this is Prince’s real heir.

Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue
A brave comeback that may not be as heartfelt as their final Unplugged release with Layne, but nonetheless is a worthy rival against the somewhat tiresome eponymous third album. Worth including just for the band’s superb Lazarus style resurrection.

Other footnotes include:

Biggest Disappointment of 2009

This has to go to Stellastarr* with their third album 'Civilised' - A forgettable and exceedingly unremarkable outing from the New Yorkers who continue to decline in quality.

Look Out For in 2010:

The two albums that are within my targets for this year are iLiKETRAiNS new record, set to be more reverb soaked atmospherics and Errors new album, which is sure to be more spectacular angular rhythms.

However, I'm expecting a good few of the best of 2010 won't be on anyone's horizons as of yet…!