Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Review>>Interpol - Interpol

Interpol - Interpol (Co-op)
In the three years since the release of “Our Love to Admire,” the New York pessimists have suffered a dramatic downward turn in momentum, from what looked like a placing on the world’s main stage, resulting towards a belief that the band are starting again from scratch.

The self-titling of the new record will intensify those beliefs, whilst the loss of key bassist Carlos Dengler is a huge hole to fill. Fortunately, Dengler was around for the recording of the album and despite all the gloom surrounding the release, it means he leaves the band with them heading back to form.

Returning from a solo album under the guise of ‘Julian Plenti,’ front man Paul Banks’ distinctive, cynical vocals are again at the forefront of the band’s sound. This is particularly evident in Try It On, where he yearns for his love’s return, letting his emotions get the better of him through a bundle of expletives. All of the Ways, however, is the opposite; a cold and seething disgust evident in his vocals, as he demands “Tell me you’re mine.” On the album’s standout and most diverse track, The Undoing, Banks shows off his vocal range by breaking-out into Spanish mid-way, further deepening the gloomy outlook of the atmosphere, combining with the Church organs and brass background echo.

Banks isn’t the only standout, with lead guitarist Daniel Kessler producing several riffs that make him the key element in the band’s sound, for the first time in their back catalogue. In the album’s most mainstream sound, Barricade, Kessler’s guitar floats off in its own simultaneous direction, while the stomping drums imprinted in the chorus will make it a live favourite. In pre-album teaser Lights, Kessler’s guitar work once again leads the listener to their impending doom of the song’s brooding darkness; which brings rewards through repeated listens, whilst Safe Without is a classic riff gradually built up alongside a hypnotic emotion.

The synthesizers of Always Malaise (The Man I Am) wouldn’t look out of place in 1980s horror movies, whilst the bleak pianos lurk towards a cold and bitter winter ahead, with the robotic drumming of Samuel Fogarino culminating in a late surge in tempo. Dengler’s work will be missed as heard through the haunting, atmospheric bass of Memory Serves, the calm stroll in Summer Well and Success is Interpol at their menacing best, with the reverb guitar work complimenting the thumping build up of the bass.

On this evidence, Dengler will be a loss to the band; however they clearly have the flair to survive without him, suggesting a guitar-based sound coming to the fore.


Sunday, 19 September 2010

Seen It>>Reading Festival 2010 - Sunday

12:30-13:05 Lights//Canadian singer-songwriter Lights got the last day off to a late than planned start on the Dance Stage, as Japanese Popstars had pulled out. She delighted the small, scene kid crowd playing songs from both of her albums.

13:35-14:15 Thrice//On the Main Stage, the Irvine, Californians played to a somewhat smallish crowd, full off teenage girls awaiting All Time Low and You Me At Six. However, they were entertaining and received a warm reception.

14:35-15:20 All Time Low//The Baltimore pop-punkers entertained the crowd on a rain-soaked Main Stage. Despite expecting a boring set, I was generally suprised, as they put on a good show and looked comfortable on the Main Stage. The crowd, although full of teenagers, were better than some crowds for the bigger bands, especially the reveller who was crowd-surfing in their tent.

15:40-16:25 You Me At Six//Probably the worst band of the weekend would be the best way to describe the Surrey faux-Americanised pop punkers. Lead singer Josh Franceschi must have been the most deluded frontman of the weekend, asking the crowd to have "the biggest circle pit in Reading history." Errr, yes. Thankfully, I missed no decent bands for this rubbish.

16:45-17:35 Limp Bizkit//Yes! Everyone got that chance to be 10 again, through the nostalgia of Limp Bizkit. Mosh pits aplenty for this one, as the rap/rock/metallers livened up the crowd for the final day with a collection of classic hits that would have left the crowd with a 'Fat Lip.'

17:55-18:45 Cypress Hill//Another band for the nostalgists, the rappers filled the Main Stage with a suspicious substance looking rather like a cigarette (hmmm...) Anyway, they delivered another brutal rendition of classics, including 'Insane In the Membrane.'

19:05-20:05 Weezer//Without doubt, the highlight of the sunday. The nerd rockers showed why the should have headlined the festival. Even without playing any of "Pinkerton", they still produced a terrific stetlist, including an ironic cover of Wheatus' 'Teenage Dirtbag.' But, Rivers Cuomo owned the stage and continued to show why nerds around the world can take heart from him. Brilliant. Altogether now, "If you want to destroy my sweater...."

19:55-20:45 Foals//Trying to follow after Weezer wasn't going to be easy, but the Oxford math-rockers showed that they have differently evolved musically, since the release of "Total Life Forever" earlier this year. The electrifying atmosphere in the NME tent plus guitarist Jimmy Smith throwing up half-way through a riff and continuing playing, was probably one of the highlights of the weekend.

21:10-22:00 We Are Scientists//Probably the second geekiest band of the weekend, after Weezer, the Californian duo of Keith Murray and Chris Cain once again pulled off a brilliant show for the pentulmate band of the weekend. They spent less time chatting and delivered a pulsating, frentic show, where I spent the entire time bouncing in the air. One of the most underrated bands on the list, but they continued to show why they have developed a cult following.

22:00-23:30 Blink 182//A chance to relive your childhood again, with the San Diego pop-punkers headlining the final night. Whilst it was enjoyable, sadly the off-putting vocals of Tom DeLonge ruined would should have been an epic night. However Travis Barker's drum solo was mind-numbing, proving he still has got it.

And that concludes Reading 2010, roll on 2011.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Seen It>>Reading Festival 2010 - Saturday

12:00-12:30 The Walkmen//The New Yorkers opened up Saturday on the Main Stage with a look into new album "Lisbon", released in September. They also got the crowd headbanging along to the eccentric drumming of Matt Barrick, through 'The Rat.'

12:45-13:20 The Futureheads//The Sunderland rockers returned with a new album in tow, "The Choas", this year and their return to the festival was treated with a hommage to the new album, 'Heartbeat Song' and 'I Can Do That.' Alongside those tracks, was a greatest hits collection of older classics, 'Skip To The End', 'Decent Days and Nights', 'The Beginning of the Twist' and of course the Kate Bush cover of 'Hounds of Love', with the entire crowd chanting back the 'Oh Ohs.'

13:35-14:05 Band of Skulls//Blues rock from Southampton now, with Band of Skulls. The, err, Band played a host of songs from debut album "Baby Darling Doll Face Honey", including 'I Know What I Am' and 'Death By Diamonds And Pearls', to get all the Jack White wannabees in the crowd headbanging along in the NME tent.

14:35-15:20 The Gaslight Anthem//The New Jersey band brought along their 'American Slang' to the Main Stage. Their energetic afternoon set included songs such as 'The 59 Sound' and the aforementioned 'American Slang.'

15:40-16:20 Modest Mouse //With The Cribs soon to follow on the Main Stage, expectations were aroused over the possibility of Johnny Marr rejoining the band on stage, as he had done for previous album "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank." However even without Marr, Isaac Brock and the boys still livened up the crowd in sunshine, playing songs such as 'Float On', 'Bukowski' and 'Tiny Cities Made of Ashes.' Maybe it's time to stop being so Modest, lads.

16:00-16:40 The Rats//The festival's worst kept secret was that The Rats were in fact Gallows. Everyone in the Lock Up Stage were not expecting anyone else when Frank Carter marched onto stage. During 'In The Belly Of A Shark', he yelled at the crowd to form a 'Wall of Death', before promptly saying, "Leeds were better than you cunts" and arguing with fans. Ah, bless.

16:45-17:35 The Maccabees//The Brighton quintent returned to the festival on the Main Stage, after packing out the NME Tent last year and headlining the Shockwaves NME Tour in February. They brought their tales of sunshine, love and happiness to the teenage audience. They were assisted in their performance from the crowd throughout, making it a nice, blissful late afternoon session.

18:45-19:35 Serj Tankian//Without his ex-System bandmates, but instead joined by a London orchestra, anyone expecting a similar atmosphere to SOAD would be pleasantly suprised, as Serj's solo set is a rather tame outift in comparison. However you wouldn't get his dancing during SOAD, would you?

20:20-21:30 The Libertines//Without a doubt, the biggest story of the festival was the return of the perenial bad-boys of Indie, for the first time in six years. Doubts had surrounded whether they would turn up in the right piece, but they gave a flawless and emotional performance to (probably) the biggest crowd of the weekend. The crowd played had their part too, with the band forced off stage midway through 'Time For Heroes', as they were being far too rowdy. The band ended with 'I Get Along', before the biggest cheer of the night was saved for a Pete/Carl hug and later the band all going to salute the audience. One of the best comebacks Reading will ever see.

21:10-22:00 Enter Shikari//After packing out the Main Stage last year, you had to wonder whether they would be enough space to fit everyone in the NME Tent for the St Albans hardcore band's set. Despite suiting the darkness, the band and audience clearly don't fit into the NME tent, so perhaps next time they should be on the Main Stage. Good atmosphere, though.

22:00-23:30 Arcade Fire//If any band could take the mantle from The Libertines on Saturday, it would have been the Montreal band. The modest outift played to a somewhat mid-sized crowd on their first headline appearance at the Berkshire festival. Playing tracks from all three of their albums, the highlights would have to be the terrific blend of 'Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)' and 'Rebellion (Lies)' and the fantastic awe-inspiring ending on 'Wake Up', with the entire crowd in full voice. A superb set, truely deserving of their headline status, probably just edging out The Libertines' set.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Seen It>>Reading Festival 2010 - Friday

12:00-12:30 Young Guns//High Wycombe alternative rockers opened the Main Stage at this year's festival with tracks from their debut album, "All Our Kings Are Dead", including 'Winter Kiss' and 'Crystal Clear.' They even had time to pay homage to the festivals headliners, combining Arcade Fire's 'Wake Up', Blink 182's 'Stay Together For the Kids' and Guns 'N Roses's 'You Could Be Mine.'

12:45-13:20 Surfer Blood//The West Palm Beach Surf Rockers brought sunshine and warmth to a muddy first day at Reading. They included songs from their high-rated debut "Astro Coast" and debuted new song 'I'm Not Ready.'

13:20-13:50 Harlem//With the Festival Republic stage running half an hour later than scheduled, my hopes of seeing Funeral Party were dashed, if only to the pleasure of instead seeing Harlem. Not from New York, but Tuscon, Arizona, the garage rock band worked up a sweat for the lively crowd, including the switch of guitarist/singer and drummer half-way through their set.

14:05-14:50 Billy Talent//Having last year headlined the Lock Up Stage, the Canadians saw themselves promoted to Main Stage, it being deserved too. Opening with crowd favourite 'Red Flag' got the entire audience rocking all the way to 'Fallen Leaves' at the end. Their set and crowd interaction once again showcasing that they are one of the best live bands on the line up.

15:35-16:05 Summer Camp//The London duo got the young audience excited on the Festival Republic stage by launching Kit Kat Chunkys into the crowd. However they didn't need to take a break (sorry), as they delivered a perfect set, prooving why they were one of the bands of the weekend to watch.

16:20-16:55 Pulled Apart By Horses//The Leeds rockers once again tore up the Festival Republic stage, with frontman Tom Hudson diving into the crowd with guitar in tack, whilst James Brown also launched his into the air like a missile, only to collect it and continue playing. The electric atmosphere in the tent confessed the band to claim that Reading would "kick the shit" out of their hometown's audience. Without doubt, Friday belonged to them.

17:20-18:10 Lostprophets//Pontypridd's finest were also upgraded to Main Stage, after their storming headline set on the NME/Radio One on Sunday in 2009. Featuring both new material from "The Betrayed" and previous classics such as 'Last Train Home' and 'Wake Up', along with a cover of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' from the day's headliners, Guns 'N Roses. However the obvious missing song being live favourite 'Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja.' It's probably safer to say that they are clearly more suited to the darkness.

18:35-19:25 Biffy Clyro//Obvious attention being attatched to Simon Neil's new look of Blond beard and hair, the Scottish rockers delivered a crowd pleasing performance of newer singles such as 'Mountains' and 'The Captain', whilst playing classics such as 'Living Is A Problem...' and 'Who's Got A Match?'

19:45-20:50 Queens Of The Stone Age//The Coolest Man in Rock, Josh Homme, doesn't need to make much effort to control the Main Stage for the Californian Hard Rockers's apperance. Opener 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer' shows off their customary swagger, whilst the crowd chant back the riff to 'No One Knows,' once again showing that they indeed are the Kings (or Queens) of the festival.

20:55-21:40 Blood Red Shoes//The Brighton boy/girl duo liven up the Festival Republic stage under the headlights combining classics such as 'It's Getting Boring By The Sea' and new potential classics including 'Heartsink.' The Teenage audience, dripping with sweat and alcopops, are kept bouncing in the air throughout the atmospheric set.

21:30-23:30 Guns 'N Roses//Over an hour late (what a suprise!), Axl Rose 'N Chums are met with a chorus of boos. With their new-line up in tow, it's hard to take it seriously as G'NR. Taking into account, that Rose's voice has firmly been left in 1987, perhaps it's time to put this to bed and move on. Of course, Axl Rose is a man (and ego) who doesn't like being second-best, therefore they manage to out-perform Kings Of Leon from 2009, as one of the worst headliners in recent years.