Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Pop Polaroids: Noah & The Whale at Pure Groove

N&TW have always sounded like they are on the cusp of becoming a parody of themselves, like a folk version of The Darkness. Their first album was just on the shamelessly beautiful side of the barrier separating them from a place in the ukelele-filled rubbish-folk area of hell, and it was one of their debut's stand out tracks, the hymnal 'Give a Little Love', that they chose to open with in the intimate* setting of the Pure Groove record shop in East London.

The band seemed to have decided that the hymnal, introspective side of their music was perfect for the venue, as the new material they chose to showcase fitted into this mold. The worst of these was 'I Have Nothing', with 6th Form lyrics including 'I have nothing, I have no one... I love nothing, I love no one'. Fact: It doesn't matter if you're being clever about the freedom of oblivion and the emotional power of rebirth if your song is really boring.

On the other hand, 'Love of an Orchestra' is like the theme tune you would want to hear to a childrens' programme about adventures at a car boot sale. It's only short (you can find it at their MySpace) but is utterly, utterly perfect. Hopefully the new 'album and film' will be more focused on this than devastating nothingness.

* i.e. small and sweaty

Monday, 24 August 2009

This week's best song ever: Bloody Beetroots - House N° 84

Ticking the boxes on the summer hit '09 checklist:

Euphoric rising strings? CHECK.
90's dance revival female wailing? CHECK.
Filtery breakdown bit? CHECK.
Potential to be used on a T4 'highlights of the summer' ident? CHECK, CHECK and TRIPLE CHECK.

Well done chaps.

Friday, 21 August 2009

"Are you... Portugese?" Calvin Harris Album Launch Party

After he announced it on Twitter at 3:26pm, it seemed like most of East London might be ready to celebrate the launch of 'Ready for the Weekend' five-and-a-half hours later. Because of the impromptu nature of the gig, the East Village Club venue, packed by 8:30, initially seemed a little overwhelmed, but the vibe was good and via some shameless loitering we squeezed like the world's best informed toothpaste through the door to the basement club.

Deadmau5 was phenomenal. A huge set of thumpingly modern electro-house, then a really down-tempo moment, causing a few people around us to suggest that this meant it was 'time for Calvin', before a brief 'Knights of Cydonia' singalong and an unbelievably teasing mix of 'I Remember' (well, teasing to anyone over familiar with the colossal drop on the Caspa remix). There were a few in the crowd wearing Deadmau5 t-shirts, clearly drawn by the rodent-monikered Torontan rather than Mr Harris, pouring out enough reverence to encourage a lap of honour from the DJ in a massive red Deadmau5 head during Calvin's set. Well done Deadmau5.

At this stage, apparently, JLS were there. Too busy 'cutting some rug' to notice. Does this mean we were 'too cool for JLS'? If we had arrived in the public consciousness via some kind of blogging reality show there would, no doubt, be headlines like 'Life in Flashback in JLS Snub - Aston Speaks Out' on the front of Heat next week.

Calvin stepped up to the standard set by Deadmau5, dropping a series of crowd-pleasers including 'You're Not Alone' (his one, not the Olive one from the 90s. Although 'You're not Alone '96' vs. 'You're Not Alone '09' has clear mashup potential. GET 2MANYDJ'S ON THE PHONE PLEASE.), both 'Bonkers' and 'Dance Wiv Me', plus the inspired choice of 'The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)'.