Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Show 12/12/2010

Another new show from Sunday 12th December. Possibly the last of the year (although I didn't know that when I made it otherwise I might have done a more wintry playlist).
Galaxie 500 are great for short winter days. I think my favourite song of theirs for that is the version of "Listen, the Snow is Falling". Maybe we'll play it next time!


Richard Thompson - Time to Ring Some Changes
Nana Grizol - Circles 'Round the Moon
James Blackshaw - Part 7
Weed Hounds - Embrace (More or Less)
Cats and Cats and Cats - Burst into Flowers
Yuck - Rubber
P.S. Eliot - Tennessee
Lau Nau - Lahtolaulu
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Say No to Love
Prolapse - Tunguska
Teenage Fanclub - Sparky's Dream

N.B. I should of course have said Lau Nau is Finnish, not Swedish. Give that album, Nukkuu, a listen; it's really lovely (although it takes a little while to get going).

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Zine & Swans

The new issue of the zine (#2 for this year) is out! It's another good one. Check it out here.

Also since they didn't need it here's a review I wrote of the Swans gig I saw a month and a bit ago. It was intense.

Until next time!


Swans @ Koko 28/10/2010
The current economic climate is hard on us all, whether we're penniless
students, city bankers or no-wave auteurs. Or at least it seems to be.
Swans were one of those bands that I always thought would never reform:
their career having encompassed everything from blistering early no wave
to more "mellow" outings with the later albums, their artistic statement
seemed complete. Michael Gira moved on to the Angels of Light, and, to
paraphrase their posthumous live album, the Swans were dead. Or seemingly
so. The promise of a Swans reunion, then, raised some serious questions.
How far was it going to be a genuine resurrection? How far a run-through
of some greatest hits, sure to please the crowd but doing nothing for the
legacy (hello, Pavement!)?
But first on was James Blackshaw, on Gira's own label, whose psychedelic
instrumentals I'd been looking forward to as much as the headliners. His
more recent releases (beginning with last year's The Glass Bead Game)
point the way to a more minimalist, compositional style, with Blackshaw
moving more often to the piano, and as such they sometimes fail to capture
the pure virtuosic bliss that his beautiful twelve-string arrangements
have. This year's All is Falling was an improvement, moving at times more
towards ambient areas, so I was excited to find out what he'd be playing.
In the event, it drew more heavily on the solo guitar works of his early
career. Carefully orchestrated and perfectly executed American
Primitivism, all ringing suspensions and subtle harmonies. But not that
you'd have recognised much of that from the Swans gig, the combination of
a poor mix and the loud and constant chattering of large parts of the
crowd making him largely inaudible. A brave and interesting choice of
support, then, but an unfortunate one. Then, between sets they played
country blues and folk. Was this a pointer as to a more stripped down
sound to come once Swans arrived?
Well, no (which I really should have been expecting from the record they
released in September). A feedback drone gradually began to build, to be
eventually followed by the first member of the band, the amazingly named
Thor Harris (who also wins the most-unlikely-connection prize for being in
Shearwater as well), frantically hammering a set of tubular bells and
introducing that new record's opener, No Words/No Thoughts. One by one,
the other members of the band joined the stage, tuned up, and prepared
themselves. What followed was revelatory.
I've seen some pretty loud and some pretty intense bands. Some that
envelop the audience in a wall of sound and some that make confrontation
the centre of the gig. But nothing quite like Swans. Audience members
apparently used to vomit at their gigs at the sheer volume, and I can
believe that. Perhaps as a kind of proof that this new Swans was just as
powerful as the old, they started with a full-volume excursion into the
most experimental, harsh noise ends of their sound. The set (especially at
first, until senses got dulled by the volume) felt like noise was being
projected straight into the front of my brain, bypassing my ears and
whatever bit processes waves into sounds. The kind of harsh noise that
makes you dizzy: cathartic and breathtaking and awe-inspiring and brutal,
like your skin is slowly being dissolved in a hail of shards of glass. The
kind of noise that bounces off the walls until it replaces all the air in
the room (even in a cavern like Koko) with pure sound and enfolds you
within it. If you've ever seen My Bloody Valentine, the effect is similar
to the noise section they do at the end of You Made Me Realise. But
instead of their warm, comforting feedback, Swans make theirs out of pure
ice. Transcendental, and easily the highlight of the gig for me. Anyway
after about twenty five minutes of that they ratcheted off the volume (if
not the intensity) and played some more conventional songs. Gira is a
truly great frontman, summoning up the spirit of Son House in his persona
of demonically possessed preacher. One of the most affecting moments of
the gig was when the band stopped, leaving him alone, the room totally
silent, invoking "Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ!" repeatedly with such
control that you couldn't help but be moved.
By this point I was pretty exhausted by the sheer intensity, and I'm not
sure how much I actually enjoyed the last few minutes of the gig (which
finished with an encore lasting all of thirty seconds). But it's not a
show I'll ever forget. Swans are very much alive.

Show 05/12/2010

New show! Stream it on mixcloud here .

Melissa Etheridge - Come to My Window
The Raincoats - Lola
The Corin Tucker Band - 1000 Years
Betty & the Werewolves - David Cassidy
The Royal We - I Hate Rock N Roll
Veronica Falls - Found Love in a Graveyard
Soda Fountain Rag - Don't Kill the Clowns
Huggy Bear - February 14th
Sleigh Bells - Riot Rhythm
The Velvet Underground & Nico - All Tomorrow's Parties
Slapp Happy - Casablanca Moon
Chrome Hoof - Tonyte
The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - Everything You Pay For
Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl

Monday, 29 November 2010

Label Minded #2 - K Records

New edition of the show I'm doing with Rob and Dasal (when he eventually makes it to a recording). This week we're focusing on classic indiepop label K Records. It's not all indiepop though!

Stream it here:


If you want the mp3, you know what to do.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Show 21/11/2010

New show from this weekend. My flatmate and robot fan Sam was the guest.


The Blanche Hudson Weekend - Love Vacation (Rough Demo)
Clues - Cave Mouth
Jessamine - Secret
Pavement - In the Mouth a Desert
Galaxie 500 - Final Day
The Fall - Garden (Peel Sessions version)
The Library of Congress - Internal Citations
Mission of Burma - Weatherbox
Low - Dinosaur Act
The Cherry Smash - Nowhere Generation
Boris - Farewell

We've received a slap on the wrist from Rare FM management so in future I'll be using mixcloud for all of the mp3s of the show. It's pretty good as you can stream the shows directly without having to download them. If you really want the mp3s to put on your iPod or whatever send me an email.
I'm also going to try to put some of the "back issues" up as an archive on mixcloud so you'll be able to access any of our previous shows! It takes a long ime though so it'll be when I have some more free time. I've put a few shows up on mixcloud in the past but from now on it will be the primary source of new MPaDJs.

Here's the link to the mixcloud page:

Click the big green button to play!

Here's the Most People are DJs home page.
And here's the Label Minded one.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Show 14/11/2010

Here we are, new show for this week.
The guest was my brother who has been on a few times before. Stalk him here.


Gentle Friendly - Lovers Rock
Nico - Frozen Warnings
Serena-Maneesh - Blow Yr Brains in the Mourning Rain
Archers of Loaf - Web in Front
Cats on Fire - Tears in Your Cup
The dBs - Black and White
Superchunk - Slack Motherfucker
Vic Chesnutt - Coward
Rocketship - I Love You Like the Way That I Used to Do
Aberfeldy - Hypnotized
Deerhunter - Basement Scene
Another Sunny Day - I'm In Love With a Girl Who Doesn't Know I Exist
A.A. Bondy - Witness Blues
Daniel Johnston - True Love Will Find You in the End
Okkervil River - Red
The National - Lucky You

Monday, 15 November 2010

Introducing "Label Minded"!

I've been talking about this idea for a while. It's the new show I'm doing with the Tin Trains conductors (Dasal and Rob). We're going to be looking at one record label each show - probably every couple of weeks - and our first on Sunday focused on Rough Trade.

You can listen to the first show of the new format here:
Label Minded

Check it out and let us know what you think!

If you want you can become a fan on Facebook (and we promise we won't spam you too much):
fan page

Monday, 8 November 2010

Show 07/11/2010

Here's this week's show. Shaky start but it gets better after that.

Good Luck - Man on Fire
Trash Kit - Fame
Animals that Swim - Kitkats & Vinegar
Schema - Echolalia... Curvilinear
Sackville - If His Shadow Moves on the Water
Black Flag - Wasted
Shrag - Furnishings
Long Fin Killie - The Lamberton Lamplighter
Swirlies - In Harmony, New Found Freedom
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Heart in Your Heartbreak
Shellac - The End of Radio


My top pick for this week is that Long Fin Killie song: check out their albums if you get the chance.

Until next time!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Under City Lights #001 (really?)

Yeah, the zine is back! This year it's edited by Dasal, and I think we can all agree that the new look is pretty amazing (probably a little bit more accessible than in previous years too). So check out the blog and grab the new issue!

Under City Lights

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Get excited...

... we relaunch for the year this weekend with not one but two shows!

There's the usual Most People are DJs format on Sunday evening (9-10 PM), and also another show with Rob and Dasal from Tin Trains focusing on the label Rough Trade. We're going to do one label every fortnight, play some records and chat about it. Should be fun! I think it's Sunday 12:30-2.
Any suggestions as to labels you'd like to see us cover in future, let us know!

Only on www.rarefm.co.uk!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

At last! New show

They said it would never happen! And admittedly I have been saying a new show is imminent for a good number of months now. But here it is at last.


Teen Sheikhs - Germs
Bedhead - Living Well
Standard Fare - Philadelphia
Mogwai - Cody [Special Moves live version]
Henry's Dress - Sunshine Proves all Wrongness
Titus Andronicus - Four Score and Seven
My Bloody Valentine - Thorn
Silkworm - Wild in my Day
Allo Darlin' - Silver Dollars
Sonic Youth - My New House
Plug - Fresh Pleasures
Parts & Labor - Brighter Days
Wive - Lazaruvs and Dives
Papercuts - The Machine Will Tell Us So
Prolapse - Slash/Oblique
P.S. Eliot - Bear Named Otis

There will be a new one (genuinely) pretty soon so look out for that. Zine news also coming soon as well as details for a new radio show format I'm going to do with Rob and Dasal from Tin Trains. So lots of fun things in the pipeline!

See you next time.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Another Mixtape!

Yeah! I just came back from Indietracks, which was amazing as usual. Sadly I don't have time to write it up for you since I'm off to Edinburgh for the Fringe on Wednesday and before that I need to pack my entire room into boxes since I'm moving out while I'm away.
So this will have to act as a stopgap: another mixtape for Pic 'n' Mixx, who were DJing and did their usual mixtape swap fun. Because I'm an idiot I didn't actually manage to get mine in the box and swapped, but here it is for you anyway. Sadly you won't get the amazing/shit/amazingly shit cover art but hopefully you can cope with that.

Robot Boys & PUNK Girls

Have a fun rest of the summer! See you in September when I'll finally keep my new show promise.

Monday, 21 June 2010

p.s. eliot

I don't remember when or where I first heard about p.s. eliot. Somewhere on the internet I'd heard the name, but I never got round to checking them out until the release this year of their new 7", Living in Squalor. Again I stumbled across it on some blog on one of my late-night music-seeking sessions (yeah, I probably should get out more). Within about an hour of downloading it I'd heard the album as well and ordered both on vinyl all the way from America (I couldn't find any UK distros stocking them, sadly). They really are that good.

The last FM page for the band (maybe written by them, maybe not, but presumably reflecting at least what they've said in interviews and stuff) lists Fugazi, Bikini Kill, X-Ray Spex etc. as influences. They're categorised as pop-punk. Both of those are all well and good, but to my ears the punk influences reflect as much on their "ideology" as they do on the sound: they seem pretty squarely DIY, and although they aren't as explicitly feminist lyrically as a lot of Riot Grrrl, they are a band with three girls in, something that's still underrepresented. But then again punk is nothing if not an ideology: but that's a blog post for someone else who's better at writing about music than me.

Anyway to my ears they sound like they're from the punkier end of what we over here would call indiepop, and they'd fit pretty well on a lot of that kind of lineup (the last FM also mentions the unfortunately now-defunct Pens). Uptempo, fairly unsophisticated (but in a good way) songs with really good (and again REALLY indiepop) lyrics: "I write you letters all the time/I never send them, it's just supposed to ease my mind." I like the singer's delivery too, sometimes spitting out words double tempo, sometimes going into charmingly off-key yelps in the high register. It's not a million miles away from stuff like the best bits of Standard Fare or something like that. The new 7" is probably more accessible, five great songs in less than twelve minutes, but the album's well worth seeking out too.

Maybe there's loads of stuff like this happening in America. I wish I knew. For all the good that the internet has done in terms of opening up scenes to people thousands of miles away (the fact I've heard of p.s. eliot at all for example), you do tend to get a very fragmented picture of what's going on. And another thing: from all the pictures I've seen on last FM or wherever, the majority of their shows are basements and apartments (see video below). Why doesn't that happen in London (or in my experience in the UK in general)? Maybe it's that houses in London tend to be a lot smaller and real estate at more of a premium than in a lot of places in the US, so fewer people have the kind of space where you can put on stuff like that. Or maybe there are just fewer established venues for this kind of underground music in places that aren't London, so people look for more unusual places to put on shows.All those pictures look like so much fun it makes me want to move to America. Maybe when I win the lottery (doubly unlikely since I've never bought a ticket) I'll buy a massive house and put on touring bands.

Anyway, the point of this post is that I love p.s. eliot and I wish they would come to the UK. Until then, go buy their 7" and LP.

Obligatory still-photo-with-added-studio-recording video:

Rubbish sound live video:

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


OK, this time I promise, new show pretty soon.

In the interim here is a special mixtape I made last week for the mixtape swap at a gig I went to (Pic 'n' Mixx, Pocketbooks headlining). Good show and hopefully a good mix, so download it here.

It's mostly indiepop but with a couple of curveballs in there too.

Sounds Just Like a Foreign Movie

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Cameras in the Sky

Yeah, we haven't had a show for ages now (a combination of the studio being down, me being busy etc). But rest assured there will be a good one (well...) coming up soon.

In the meantime, here's a band I've been listening to a lot recently, Prolapse:

A band from Leicester from about ten years ago, somehow including a very Scots singer (maybe ranter would be a better term). They come off like a mix between the Fall and Stereolab. A horribly twisted motorik version of indiepop. It works though. A lot of their songs have an interesting contrast between the stream-of-conciousness type stuff and some actual singing from a female vocalist, maybe sort of reminiscent of the earlier MBV stuff but with more grounded guitars.

I really like this one, more sedate musically but the free word association is pretty interesting.

You can get their albums on Amazon for about a quid each, I'd say "The Italian Flag" is the best (the tracks I've posted are all from that since there's not much else on the internet).

Since we last did a show I also went to see A Silver Mount Zion at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. Good as usual, mostly stuff from the new album but with 1,000,000 Died to Make This Sound, God Bless Our Dead Marines and Microphones in the Trees (given some of Efrim's recent blog posts, perhaps a comment on the ubiquity of CCTV in the UK). Microphones is probably my favourite SMZ song I think, fantastic propulsive bassline and some room for lovely violin improvisation at the end. SMZ (or whatever variation of the name they're currently trading on) seem to spend an inordinately long time tuning between songs, and Efrim asks the crowd to make any points they might want to air: predictably, the first shout was to "Bring back Godspeed!", to which he replied: "You fucking bring back Godspeed. It's easy, just four chords and a long runway."
Worth seeing next time they're over.

From the new one:

I never realised how much of that was played on the violin before seeing them.

Anyway, there you go. Be careful when searching for "Prolapse" on YouTube.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Show 07/03/2010

Friends, sad news. Due to technical issues, last week's show is lost forever. It has vanished into the empty (internet) radio waves.

We may never know what really went on that day, but here's one (unconfirmed) suggestion:

Wilco - Handshake Drugs [Kicking Television version]
American Football - Never Meant
Shellac - Song of the Minerals
Pavement - Gold Soundz
Richard Thompson - Calvary Cross
Crash and Britany - Nora's a Mirror
Teenage Fanclub - Verisimilitude
Rocket From the Tombs - Ain't It Fun
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
Art Brut - DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake
Sparklehorse - Cow

RIP Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, a truly exceptional songwriter.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Show 28/02/2010

Sorry it's taken so long to put this show up! There'll be a new one probably tomorrow. Soon anyway.

This was our 60th ever show.


Broken Family Band - Mother O' Jesus
Absentee - Something to Bang
Loose Fur - Laminated Cat
Arab Strap - Stink
AA Bondy - Witness Blues [Daytrotter Session]
Sebadoh - Perverted World
Quasi - Sea Shanty
Lucksmiths - The Chapter In Your Life Entitled San Francisco
Retribution Gospel Choir - Kids
The Band - King Harvest (Has Surely Come)
Tall Dwarfs - Think Small
Silver Jews - Federal Dust
Neutral Milk Hotel - Where You'll Find Me Now
Roky Erickson & Okkervil River - Goodbye Sweet Dreams

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Show 21/02/2010

This week's show:


Belle & Sebastian - Mayfly
Gliss - Sleep
Wive - Come Join the Sea
Mission of Burma - Einstein's Day
Shrag - Forty Five 45s
Fugazi - Cashout
Dylan - Idiot Wind [original version]
Hefner - May God Protect Your Home
lift to Experience - Falling From Cloud 9
Galaxie 500 - Pictures
long Fin Killie - Godiva
The Velvet Underground - After Hours

Have fun! New show tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Show 07/02/2010

This weeks show has 20% extra snap, crackle and pop, and comes in glorious mono. Also a noise track (Temperatures) which prompted our most scathing email ever:

"Does this sound like music to you? Cos it doesn't to me, the wires in your brain must be crossed or sumfin. Were you dropped on your head as a child? Or possibly a rugby injury from teenage years?"

So yeah, you might want to skip that one if your feedback tolerance isn't very high.


Guided By Voices - Hardcore UFOs
Sparklehorse - Weird Sisters
Dananananaykroyd - No Wage
Spare Snare - Strange and Silent Staircase
Mobile Unit - We Live in Our Own World, But It's OK They Know Us Here
The Tyde - Look Back in Anger
Giddy Motors - Magmanic
The Moles - Saint Jack
Shellac - My Black Ass
Number One Cup - Smile, It's Sugar
Temperatures - Kakorr
Saloon - Shoot the Singer
Charlene - Blackout

See you next time.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Show 31/01/2010

Join me and this week's guest, Toby, as we play records, overanalyse our favourite bands and plumb new depths of technical incompetence.


Iggy & the Stooges - Search & Destroy
Beach House - Zebra
Tall Dwarfs - Highrise
Allo, Darlin' - The Polaroid Song
Japandroids - Rockers East Vancouver
Fanfarlo - You are One of the Few Outsiders Who Really Understands Us
Stars - My Favourite Book
Bardo Pond - Rumination
Magnolia Electric Company - Oh Grace
Black Eyes - Commencement
Daniel Johnston - The Beatles
life Without Buildings - Envoys
The Research - The Hard Times
Besnard lakes - Albatross
The Bishops - I Can't Stand It Any More
Skill 7 Stamina 12 - Ijsman
Wake the President - Miss Tierney
Wilco - Theologians
Tunng - Bullets
Okkervil River - Happy Hearts
Tindersticks - Patchwork

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Show 17/01/2010

For our second show of the new year, some new stuff! Also some old stuff.


Cats & Cats & Cats - Brilliant the Brilli Ant
Titus Andronicus - Theme From Cheers
Lilys - Periscope
Blonde Redhead - Hated Because of Great Qualities
Thurston Moore - Fri/End
Bob Dylan - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
Sophia - When You're Sad
Silver Mt Zion - Kollapz Tradixional (Thee Olde Dirty Flag)
Jay Reatard - Always Wanting More
Mirza - Last Clouds

RIP Jay.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Show 10/01/2010

"Don't look back", said Teenage Fanclub.
"But how else am I going to highlight some great records from 2009 and the 2000s as a whole, some which people will have heard and some which they might not?" I said.
There was no answer.


Dananananaykroyd - Watch This (Hey Everyone, 2009)
Grandaddy - Jed's Other Poem (The Sophtware Slump, 2000)
Wake the President - Professor (You Can't Change that Boy, 2009)
Enablers - The Destruction Most of All (Tundra, 2008)
Pink Mountaintops - Axis: Thrones of love (Outside Love, 2009)
Manhattan love Suicides - Extra Medication (Burnt Out Landscapes, 2008)
Simon Scott - Flood Inn (Navigare, 2009)
Life Without Buildings - Envoys (Any Other City, 2001)
Jay Reatard - There is No Sun (Watch Me Fall, 2009)
And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead - Another Morning Stoner (Source Tags & Codes, 2001)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Everything With You (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, 2009)
Okkervil River - The War Criminal Rises and Speaks (Down the River of Golden Dreams, 2003)
Deerhunter - Circuation (Rainwater Cassette Exchange, 2009)
Drones - I'm Here Now (Gala Mill, 2005)
Tartufi - System Folds (Nests of Waves & Wire, 2009)
The USA is a Monster - Somehow (Tasheyana Compost, 2003)
Dirty Projectors - Cannibal Resource (Bitte Orca, 2009)
Radiohead - Idioteque (Kid A, 2001)
Cymbals Eat Guitars - Wind Phoenix (Proper Name) (Why There Are Mountains, 2009)
Wilco - Ashes of American Flags (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, 2001)

P.S. Sorry for the even worse than usual sound quality this week.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Mp3 of the day #8 - I'll Keep It With Mine by Richard & Linda Thompson

Today's track is an absolutely stunning live cover of a Bob Dylan song by Richard & Linda Thompson from 1982. It's from the bootleg Hard Luck Stories; the whole show is really good and showcases RT's absolutely mind-blowing guitar playing. He really is on a whole different level from almost anyone else I've ever heard harmonically, on electric or acoustic. If you don't know his stuff then watch this and then go and listen to all of the albums he did with Linda.

This song is the best thing on the bootleg, and it beats the Dylan and Nico versions easily. Just stunning, especially Linda's voice and the harmonies on the chorus. Sorry about the slightly bad sound quality.

Richard & Linda Thompson - I'll Keep It With Mine

Monday, 4 January 2010

Mp3 of the day #7 - Snowstorm by Galaxie 500

Here's today's mp3, from the second Galaxie 500 record, On Fire. All day today I've been in a mood for this band. I think it's the combination of the greyness outside and the coldness inside (our hot water and heating aren't working) but they seem to work really well in winter. Their stripped-back production lends itself to this kind of day I think.
Anyway this particular one is a really nice song in a suitably wintry mood. Give it a listen!

Galaxie 500 - Snowstorm

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Album Feature: Lift to Experience - The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads (2001)

Christian Rock. Two words which might as well be deliberately calculated to induce fear in even the most broad-minded of music fans. BUT WAIT. This record is definitely "rock" in approach, but it deals with the apocalyptic revelations of Josh T. Pearson; basically, that Texas is the Promised Land, and that in the forthcoming apocalypse only Texas is safe.

Right. So far, so strange. But as a concept for an album, it turns out to be a winner: the apocalypse has been used forever in noise/metal/shoegaze as a lyrical and musical idea, and taking it further into the realms of the sermon gives the guitar noise some context. Also it's a suprisingly broad theme, allowing the band to explore quieter moments spread among the eye-of-the-storm freakouts across the two CDs. The first disc introduces the concept, and the second brings the proverbial noise, the final climax of "Into the Storm" representing Judgement Day and the final retreat to the Lone Star State. Yeah, this isn't your standard Christian Rock.

Musically, this record is sort of what you'd expect given the space/drone-rock scene of Denton (the band's home town). The guitars drone and feed back, although it's not a noisy record, and there are moments of instrumental chaos among the really fairly conventional song structures. One interesting feature is that the whole album has very little overdubbing on it, and as there's only one guitar the sound is less filled-out that a lot of similar stuff. It's an interesting change from the walls of sound you'd find elsewhere and means the guitars depend more on delay and drones than simple heaviness. But only a few songs on the record go for such all-out heaviness. The band incorporates sections of what can only be described as narration with minimal guitar skeletons ("Down Came the Angels"), hymn tunes ("To Guard and to Guide You") and even a capella gospel sections ("The Ground So Soft").

Each disc is really a continuous piece, the songs segueing into each other, but it's possible to pick out highlights. "Falling From Cloud 9" updates dedicatory hymns to the band's modern aesthetic: "I've come this far and I said I'd go all the way but these fevered winds sway stronger each day. / Yeah I'm fool's gold, and my heart's not right but I'd still sell what's left in my soul just to pay the tithe", backed by air-rushing guitar parts and heavy percussion.

It's not all humourless sermon though; there are some great moments of self-mythologising humour in the lyrics, as in "These are the Days":

"These are the days that must happen to you
the stars are aligned for all God's chosen few.
So all you haircut bands, doing headstands,
thinking you'll turn the world upside down.
Put your guitars up over your shoulders. A new sort of experience is taking over
'cos we're simply the best band in the whole damn land.
and 'Texas Is The Reason'."

There are criticisms to be made: the consistency of instrumentation can mean there's little variety in the heavier songs, and the second disc is undoubtedly weaker. The noisier sections can feel unfocussed. But overall, this is a fantastic record, with heartfelt vocals and fantastic songwriting and arrangement. Even if it does have genuinely the worst cover art I've ever seen.

Mp3 of the day: Lift to Experience - The Ground So Soft

Friday, 1 January 2010

Mp3 of the day #5 - Will You Please Spend New Year's Eve With Me by Allo, Darlin'

Happy New Year! I really should have posted this yesterday, when it would have been appropriate and timely, but I forgot. Sorry.
Anyway this is the B-side of the new Allo, Darlin' single, The Polaroid Song. It's on Fortuna Pop!, go and buy it. This song is also on their Christmas EP, which I've been playing quite a lot recently for obvious reasons.
Anyway, this is among the softest of the new school of UK indiepop, a nice outing for Elizabeth Darling's lovely voice. There's something about her songwriting too which I'm not sure how to describe, it's just utterly free of pretension and double meanings and it's just completely pure. You can call it twee if you want, although I wouldn't.

Allo, Darlin' - Will You Please Spend New Year's Eve With Me?