Bloc Party vs. Franz Ferdinand

…have we just stepped back nearly 10 years?

Not as far as I’m concerned, I loved both those bands when they appeared, and thought Bloc Party’s Four album was a return to form last year, while I’m really looking forward to the forthcoming fourth Franz Ferdinand album.

Bloc Party seem to be about to go on hiatus again, but before they do, they are preparing to release a new five-track EP, The Nextwave Sessions EP.

The first track out from it is entitled ‘Ratchet’ and it’s mighty fine:

The EP also features four new tracks: ‘Obscene,’ ‘French Exit,’ ‘Montreal’ and ‘Children Of The Future.’

Meanwhile, Franz Ferdinand have announced that their new album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action will be out on August 26.

The tracklisting for the album is as follows:
‘Right Action’
‘Evil Eye’
‘Love Illumination’
‘Stand On The Horizon’
‘Fresh Strawberries’
‘Treason! Animals’
‘The Universe Expanded’
‘Brief Encounters’
‘Goodbye Lovers & Friends’

You can hear comeback single ‘Right Action’ below

You can also hear ‘Love Illumination’ below:

These two tracks are available as a limited 7″ (try Avalanche Records in Edinburgh) or the Domino Records website.

The return of The Pixies…?

I wrote two weeks ago that bassist Kim Deal had left the Pixies. Two weeks later the band have announced their first new track in nine years, entitled ‘Bagboy.’ It’s a free download. I’m enjoying it, though it doesn’t sound like the Pixies 1987-1991, much. Then again, we all change over the course of a quarter of a century. You can download it below. I’m not sure if Kim Deal was involved in this or not, it sounds like her voice in a couple of places, but…

They have also made a video for it.

So folks, what do you reckon? And if this is a post-Kim Deal Pixies should they continue?

Album Review: Taffy


Taffy -‘Lixiviaite’ (Club AC30)

Barely more than a year since the release in the UK of their debut album, Caramel, and Tokyo four-piece Taffy are back with their sophomore album, Lixiviaite.

As with their debut, the band are in love with indie’s history, particularly the pre-Britpop high points of shoegazing and c-86. It’s a sweet album -perhaps a little too sweet at times, but a fun way to spend forty minutes.

Amongst the standout tracks here are album opener ‘Sweet Violet’ and their frankly astonishing version of The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ which they completely make their own. As you would hope from any good cover version – but it’s not just the fact that it’s a female voice, musically they have run with it, and in ways I wouldn’t have thought in decades of listening to the song.

It’s not a huge progression from their debut, but it’s another welcome addition, and a welcome antidote to so much pseudo-indie landfill.


Lixiviaite is out now on Club AC30.

Album Review: The Dunwells


The Dunwells -‘Follow the Road’ (Playing In Traffic/Concord)

It’s funny, I really wasn’t sure that I was going to be bothered with this album as I worked through my review pile, but there’s an honesty and openness about this album that actually makes it rather appealing when it comes on.

The Dunwells hail from Leeds but they wear their music love on their sleeves and that love is Americana’s regular clothes of a blend of rock, folk and country. Sure they sing in American accents, but that’s hardly a hanging offence, after all, how many British bands have? Opening with the title track, over the course of the eleven tracks here there’s a warmness that has inevitably seen them gather comparisons to M*mf*rd *nd S*ns but this album is strong and decent. And even stripped down on tracks like ‘Oh Lord’ and ‘Saving Grace’ it’s strong enough to keep it together. Their debut album is called Blind Sighted Faith in America so this is the British version, which seems to hang together pretty nicely to these ears.

Sure there are lots of bands doing this – but I think it’s the Dunwells I want to hear doing it.

The boys dunwell (sorry, weak, but I couldn’t resist!)


Follow The Road is released on July 1 on Playing In Traffic/Concord via Decca.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs on top of the world


…well, on top of the Empire State Building (and yes, I know Karen O has dyed her hair blonde, but I like her look better with it dark. Anyway…)

The fourth Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, Mosquito is out now, and the reason I haven’t reviewed it (yet) is not because I don’t like it (I do, and I bought it, on vinyl) but because …well, I have too much stuff to review. But it’s brilliant.

And so is the video for their latest single, when they have become the first band ever (really) to film a music video on top of the fabled Empire State Building. I love this song -and I also love the video, because, well, you know what they say about New York. It’s a cliche, but it’s true, it really does feel like setting onto a film set. Hell, if I could have an all expenses paid trip to one City in the world for the rest of my life, New York would win, hands down.*

Anyway, enough of me eulogising about the Big Apple; check out the video for ‘Despair.’

*Yes, I have got beyond Manhattan.

Presenting…Little Comets


Another one of many submissions into my inbox.

Little Comets come from Washington And Jarrow, though ironically it was from their US PR that I got an email. The tune ‘Jennifer’ in the inbox came out in the UK last year, but it sounds great to me. Lazy comparisons might be made to other bands (whisper it: Vampire Weekend and Bwani Junction), but this tune deserves to stand on its own merits. They are Robert Coles (lead vocals, guitar), Michael Coles (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Matt Hall (bass guitar, backing vocals).

It comes from their album Life Is Elsewhere which came out in the UK last October and will be released in August in the US.


Does there have to be a reason?

Fleetwood Mac

It’s funny how some records get re-evaluated over time.

Some albums, like Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ Don’t Stand Me Down and The Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique are now frequently held up as great albums.

And I am more than happy to agree. BUT: There was a time when these were held up as failures. And another album that comes into that list is Tusk by Fleetwood Mac, from 1979, their follow-up to ridiculously successful Rumours.

Why are these records re-evaluated? Were the critics wrong, the bands too ahead of their time, the public not ready?

Whatever – the title track alone of Tusk is worth the price of admission…

The return of M.I.A.


Whilst we’re still waiting for the new, fourth album from M.I.A., Matangi (which seems to have taken almost as long as Azealia Banks’ Broke With Expensive Taste), she has finally released a new single ‘Bring The Noize.’

It’s incendiary, and rather like sticking your fingers in a plug. I was half asleep when I pressed play, it’s better than a shot of double espresso to the brain…

A very welcome return. It sounds like the album has been difficult – but if this is a taste of what it’s like, then it would seem it has been worth the wait. It’s currently rumoured to be out in July.

This is an eight minute preview of the album