Monday, February 05, 2007

Some Music that I Like

In spite of, or perhaps inspired by, my continuing penchant for regular rum-soaked social escapades, I’ve recently been swept up in a spate of unusually fervent musical discovery. It’s been ages since I felt so inspired by contemporary popular music, and my purse is positively groaning from the hammering it has received in Rounder Records as a result! So, while I'm in a sharing mood, here are just some of my current favourites:

Archie Bronson Outfit
I may have mentioned these guys in a previous post about the Green Man festival, but they certainly warrant another plug here. Possibly the most overlooked band of 2006, their latest album Derdang Derdang offers the kind of raw, rasping, urgent rock that is ideal for aiding my regular stomp up Southover Street (anyone reading who’s not from Brighton – this is one of the steepest hills in town, redeemed only by the fact that it also boasts at least six pubs), and pisses all over all those sub-britpop soundalikes who I have come to loathe - so much so that I can’t even bear to name-check them here.

Do Say Make Think
Sunday afternoon paper-reading-with-hangover music at its best (and also rather good as a still-drunk-but-not-ready-for-bed-yet early hours chill-out soundtrack). Reminiscent of Krautrock pioneers Can, DSMT have the same rambling, improvised feel, which I find strangely soothing. There is also a touch of early Low about the hypnotically repetitive, ponderous guitar motifs, which then build into a mellow frenzy of unidentifiable noises - including various wind and percussion instruments. The lack of vocals also makes it easier to 'zone out' when feeling too tired/drunk/jaded to be bothered listening to lyrics. I was irritated with myself when I discovered that they've been around for over ten years, and I've been missing out all this time.

The Long Blondes
A current favourite of BBC 6Music, these Blondie-esque hipsters are getting plenty of airplay, and deservedly so. Their fervent, upbeat, often frenzied pop tunes are punctuated by singer Kate Jackson’s unusually striking and refreshingly enunciated vocals.

Arcade Fire
OK, so I admit I was slow on the uptake here, as it seems everyone else out there is already a fan (including the eternally irritating Chris Martin from Coldplay, who can't stop gushing about them - which incidentally means they must be good, as normally I wouldn't associate myself with anything he does - the smug git). It took a friend's recommendation to turn me on to these French-Canadian indie-rockers, and I am grateful to them for it (you know who you are). Unfortunately I wasn't on the ball enough to snap up a ticket to their sell-out upcoming London dates, so I shall be impatiently awaiting the opportunity to see them live. Meanwhile, my ears will have to continue forgiving me for cranking up the volume on my mp3 player in order to fully appreciate the invigorating ensemble of sounds... Twinkling pianos and swooning strings underpin distorted guitars and emotive vocals, with occasional accordion and glockenspiel cameos, as they swing between a gentle-ballady and pulsing pop-rock vibe.

Citing influences from Jacques Brel to The Smiths, and incorporating a diverse range of genres including klezmer, bluegrass, cabaret, jazz, Arabic, folk, bal-musette, electronica, avante-garde and pop, Beirut's unique sound is a welcome addition to the growing 'world music' section of my record collection. Whilst I'm not really sure what 'world music' actually means (surely all music is from 'the world'?), this seems the most appropriate term to distinguish certain styles of music from generic pop/rock bands. Perhaps a separate blog on the semantics of musical terminology is warranted... er,

Further listening suggestions/recommendations from fellow music-enthusiasts are positively encouraged!

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