Thursday, 25 February 2010

The Spotted Ant #3

It's that time of the month, folks. Well, that time again anyway. As I can't guarantee one every fortnight, I've realised that two a month is certainly do-able. No excuse not to.

Highlights? All of it, really, but Lamb of God, Nitzer Ebb and Depeche Mode get an inclusion for some top live shows this month, as do Between the Buried and Me, who also supply the SA's token cover version. Some classics from Accept, The Distillers and The Beloved. Add some great new tracks from Beach House, Massive Attack and The Dillinger Escape Plan and 'tis really an awesome show.

Look, I've even done a crappy poster for it!

Yes Sir, I can boogie!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Album Review: HADOUKEN! - For The Masses (EMI)

Brave move, that album title. Evidently, there's something for everyone within this opus, unlike the riot that was their debut Music for an Accelerated Culture - a rabid mix of rave, grime, rock, rap, digi-synth pop, more rave etc - that likely had anyone over the age of thirty running a mile. A Technicolour attack of all the most exciting bits of electronic music from the last three decades, and with all the songwriting nous to apply it to. If anyone had enough in the armoury to burn the tag line "difficult second album", it's this lot.

Things certainly start off well enough on opener Rebirth, including an opening segment that wouldn't be out of place on a Sisters of Mercy album! This bodes well as a sign that the band are continuing to evolve, but the album slowly reveals that this isn't the case. The band do sound bigger, bolder, more confident, but they appear to have lost that vibrancy and excitement that made the first album such a rush to listen to. It feels like the band are recognising the need to "mature"and not playing to their strengths in doing so. While the '90s-rave-inspired beat and lyrical method change slightly on each track, the dynamics does not. Tracks such as Turn The Lights Out and Mic Check contain their own build-ups and path to a killer climax, but they don't happen. It's as the album continues that you realise the biggest crime is a lack of hooks and memorable choruses. Evil does do the latter but the rest of the track suffers from the sins mentioned earlier.

It's only towards the end of the album that things take an obvious turn for the better. Bombshock serves up a molotov mix of aggressive rapping, grimy guitars and a core drum loop that reassures you that they can still do what they do best, but it also feels like the track's superiority is exaggerated by what came before. Play The Night manages to combine all their good points to an epic feel while closer Lost is a lesson in how to do atmospheric rave. It's reassuring, but as far as the album is concerned, a bit too late.

There's no denying that Hadouken! are growing up and evolving - an obvious sign is that most tracks don't seem to be inspired by a different episode of "Skins", but it does seem to have come with a price. No-one wants a repeat of the first album, especially if you're closer to 30 than 20, but the core strengths of that killer debut seem to have been forgotten. The third album will certainly be the decider.


Monday, 8 February 2010

The Spotted Ant #2

Yup, I'm keeping this up, although I still owe this blog a couple of album reviews. A week off should allow this. He says confidently before life happens.

The second Spotify playlist I've knocked up has a bit of a birthday feel to it as I hit the big 3-0 this week. Sadly, I couldn't find the theme to "Thirtysomething" on it otheriwse I would've added it for comic/ridiculous effect. Most artists this time are those I've seen on or around birthdays in past years. At The Drive-In's presence represents a rather memorable 21st in which me and my friends got rather drunk and met forgotten chart-rockers The Dum Dums outside the venue. Messy night, and At The Drive In's last, if I remember. Lostprophets, as well as being personal favourites, always seem to tour around this time of year for a new album, which is handy. I saw Municipal Waste last week. They fucked me up.

Elsewhere, Terrorvision's cover of Dave Clark Five's Glad All Over is a tribute to Crystal Palace FC's inspired "fuck you" to their penalised entry into administration. They may even get near the play-offs again at this rate. Special AKA's live version of Too Much Too Young was number one when I was born. If ever there was a sign of having credible music taste for life, that was it. Current faves from Hot Chip, Pnau and Fan Death are also present.


3 COLOURS RED - Paralyse
HOT CHIP - One Life Stand
SPECIAL AKA - Too Much Too Young (live)
LOSTPROPHETS - Five is a Four Letter Word
GOLDBLADE - Black Elvis
CAKE - Short Skirt/Long Jacket
GRINDERMAN - No Pussy Blues
MEGADETH - Tornado of Souls
FAN DEATH - Cannibal
TERRORVISON - Glad All Over (Dave Clark Five cover)
GAMA BOMB - Zombi Brew
PNAU - Embrace (ft Ladyhawke)
AT THE DRIVE-IN - One Armed Scissor
MARILYN MANSON - Antichrist Superstar
MUNICIPAL WASTE - Unleash the Bastards