Pete And The Pirates – One Thousand Pictures

It’s been about three years since Pete and the Pirates released jangly upbeat debut Little Death.

The Reading outfit’s forte remains well-observed, ditsy, easy on the ear and infectious indie although One Thousand Pictures is far less carefree and jaunty than its predecessor.

There has been a definite maturation, both lyrically and musically, with a real preference for slightly psychedelic, pithily whimsical songs about the British way of life. Sanders timeless songwriting ability of capturing the everyday ponderings and personal portrait we got from Ray Davies in his pomp. Encapsulated by ‘Come to the Bar’, a celebration and critique of drinking culture (you decide) or album closer ‘Half Moon Street’, a lovely, wistful ballad about a couple held together only a shared love of drinking.

Tom Sanders’ distinctive and emotive vocals triumph alongside the band’s often eccentric and downright peculiar music. As well as the touching and rousing there is an underlying sense of fun to One Thousand Pictures. be it the adorably infectious ‘Motorbike’, the more experimental ‘Winter1′ and it’s off-kilter synth channelling to the perfect pop of ‘United’.

One Thousand Pictures is both melancholic and beautiful, fragile and robust and rowdy and rousing without ever feeling forced or misplaced. Not since Mystery Jets’ 21 has there been an indie-pop album so close to perfection. They don’t come around very often so enjoy the moment.

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Pete And The Pirates – Come To The Bar

Pete And The Pirates – Half Moon Street via Jaumita

Video: Anna Calvi – Desire

English songstress Anna Calvi is releasing ‘Desire’ as the second single from her spellbinding eponymous debut album on June 20th.

‘Desire’ is pretty typical of what the album’s all about; wonderfully rich, brooding and dramatic gothic pop. It is accompanied by a moody video directed by Aoife McArdle and will be available on 7″ and via digital download, backed with a reworking of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Joan Of Arc’.

Calvi plays Vicar Street, Dublin on November 19th and The Empire, Belfast on November 20th.


Echo & The Bunnymen – ‘Do It Clean’ (Crocodiles & Heaven Up Here Live)

For three decades Echo & The Bunnymen have been serving up some of the finest indie/post-punk on the planet and they can throw together a set list to rival any band. In recent years however, McCulloch & co. have taken to touring classic albums instead.

Do It Clean was recorded at a sold out show in their hometown of Liverpool, playing classic albums Crocodiles & Heaven Up Here. I have yet to get my hands on a copy but they have kindly made ‘Pride’, ‘Crocodiles’ and ‘Show of Strength’ all available via their facebook.

Also, The Bunnymen take their ‘Ocean Rain Tour’ to Dublin’s Olympia on Friday 23rd of September. The band will perform their classic 1984 album, Ocean Rain live, accompanied by a full string section. I’ve already got a ticket, it should be immense!

Do It Clean is strictly limited edition and is only available via the Echo & The Bunnymen website.

Mp3: Echo & The Bunnymen – Pride

Mp3: Echo & The Bunnymen – Crocodiles (Live) 

Mp3: Echo & The Bunnymen – Show Of Strength

Albums, Albums, Albums: Pharoahe Monch & PJ Harvey

The sceál of 2011 so far has been one of ‘so much great music, so little time’. Managing to listen to so much music can be a daunting task not to mention writing about it. Here’s a quick round-up of albums I have been listening to a lot.

Pharoahe Monch – W.A.R (We Are Renegades)

Pharoahe Monch‘s latest offering is quite simply one of the finest hip-hop records of the past few years, let alone 2011. W.A.R (We Are Renegades) has everything; great rhymes, wordplay and head-nodding beats while lyrically it’s hard-hitting, intelligent and insightful, providing a scathing attack on the industry and society. This is hip-hop with something to say, a welcome relief from the hordes of bling obsessed industry spun celebrity pretenders.

Like his wordplay this one flows effortlessly slinking between the heavy gospel feel of  ‘Let My People Go’, old school vibes of ‘Hitman’ and ‘Clap’ and the fiery anger of  ‘W.A.R’ and ‘Calculated Amalgamation’. If one line could sum up an album it would be from the later, “No justice, no peace, no settle / We are renegades, fuck your gold medal.”

This is the work of a master, no doubt about, this is a going to be classic.

Pharoahe Monch – Clap  (One Day) Ft. Showtyme And DJ Boogie Blind via brooklynvegan

Pharoahe Monch – Evolve via viciosdelaslilas

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

I must admit having consistently ignored and disregarded her output over the years, I am not best placed to write about PJ Harvey. But here I am, prepared to admit how wrong I was and heap praise on her latest album, Let England Shake.

It’s an enthralling collection of brooding and dramatic gothic scores exploring Englishness, perils of colonialism and the ravages of war. While there’s obviously a message here it is not preachy, preferring to explore rather than lecture on these themes of war, death and loss. All of which resonate today.

It’s an album which is both tragic and beautiful, rife with dark and horrific imagery of blood spilt battlefields. It is also one which needs to be listened to in full to be appreciated (that said ‘Let England Shake’, ‘The Last Living Rose’ and ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’ where the ones which sucked me in).

Let England Shake is a creative, emotional and fearless record which is an obvious contender for album of the year.

PJ Harvey – The Words That Maketh Murder via VagrantRecords

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Download: Gross Magic – Sweetest Touch

Gross Magic is the moniker of 20-year-old Sam McGarrigle from Brighton. He cites early Nirvana and Loser-era Beck amongst his biggest influences and it’s certainly prevalant on ‘Sweetest Touch’.

There is a massive 90’s vibes for sure, it is also one of the catchiest tunes released this year. There’s an overwhelming warmth to this one which (for me) is heavily reminiscent of early Super Furry Animals (circa Fuzzy Logic/Out Spaced).

‘Sweetest Touch’ it’s taken from his forthcoming Teen Jamz EP, out August 8th.

Download: Gross Magic – Sweetest Touch

Miles Kane – Colour of the Trap

Miles Kane seems to have been with us for an age. Surprisingly Colour of the Trap is Kane’s debut solo LP having already released records with The Little Flames, The Rascals and grandiose ’60s side-project, The Last Shadow Puppets, alongside Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys.

It was with the later that the Wirral-born musician really discovered a deep and abiding love for the ’60s. Turner’s help is enlisted again with Gruff Rhys and Noel Gallagher also lending a hand as we are whisked on a whirlwind trip through a spooky ’60s parallel universe.

Not since the emergence of The Bees has ’60s psych-soul sounded so fresh; authentically swathed in twangs and spooky feedback and atmospheres. It is a record of juxtaposition, finding a balance between the ladish swagger and pulse-raising rock’n’roll riffs of ‘Come Closer’and ‘Inhaler’ with swooning heartfelt love songs ‘Take The Night From Me’ and ‘My Fantasy’.

One of the albums highlights ‘Quicksand’, is a happy-go-lucky indie-pop freak out, of the ilk of The Coral or Echo & The Bunnymen. Like these one of Kane’s greatest assets is his distinctive Merseyside drawl, which dictates the pace ‘Rearrange’ ‘Kingcrawler’ and ‘Colour of the Trap’.

While his musical vision resides firmly in the ’60s Colour of the Trap it is fresh and full of wit, charisma and charm. It isn’t a masterpiece but it is an enjoyable record with equal measures of brilliantly executed explosive indie rock, cheery pop and touching love songs. A great combination.

Miles Kane – Come Closer

Miles Kane – Inhaler

Download: The Subways – It’s A Party

The Subways are back! They have unveiled new track ‘It’s A Party’ taken from their forthcoming third album Money & Celebrity, out this September.

The band have hooked up with legendary producer Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur etc.) to record the album. ‘It’s A Party’ isn’t offering anything overly ambitious, it’s a riff driven three and a half minutes of riotous rock ‘n roll with belly churning bass and drums. 

The Subways will be hoping to recapture the form of debut Young For Eternity, following the largely forgettable album All or Nothing back in 2008.

You can download the track below or sign up for it on their website.

Download: The Subways – It’s A Party