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Posts Tagged ‘massive attack’

Hating dance music is for wussies. Loving trance, I’m afraid, is far worse. The only clubbing I feel like doing, given today’s piss poor excuse for party music, is one that involves cracked skulls on the dancefloor and my friend’s baseball bat. I really thought Intelligent Dance Music would catch up in my country. I envisioned speakers throbbing to the beats of Justice, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsytem, Burial or sparkling new remixes by Massive Attack but noooooo, even now I hear people are shaking a leg to trance music. Zombie fodder for the masses. Like millions of tiny hammers, rhythmically knocking at the sides of our skulls, coaxing our brains to resist any form of intelligent movement. “Dhak dhak dhak dhak don’t think, dhak dhak dhak fuckers…just dhak fucking dhak dhak move dhak dhak”. Sigh. I suggest we let them be and take in as much of Happy Mondays and New Order as we possibly can. The Manchester club scene has given birth to some of the finest dance music for the last two decades. And it hardly ever gets better than Happy Mondays’ 24 Hour Party People and New Order’s Blue Monday. Tell me….how does it feel?

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Bay Area alternative rockers Mother Hips are one of those bands that got swept under the carpet during the mid-Nineties, thanks to the grunge explosion; unfairly too, considering their knack for spinning out wicked grooves. I really dig their smoky bar-room brand of whimsical alternative rock that still bears the fragrance of Sixties psychedelic pop. Eric Burdon and Donovan Phillips would be proud. Oh, and you don’t ever have to shed another tear for Blind Melon’s premature exit from the music scene. Mother Hips is still here and looking to satiate silly Gen-X children, looking for redemption, having sinned against the true Gods of grunge by once pledging allegiance to Cobain.

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Concept albums have been crapped out by the dozen lately; some vaguely intriguing while others assiduously pretentious. Last year Nigerian-American rapper Wale released The Mixtape About Nothing – a collection of tracks inspired by his love for the sitcom Seinfeld. There’s a running joke in Seinfeld about the frivolity of its characters’ lives and the purpose of the show itself. Wale lets his laidback hip hop vibes channel this emotion as he kicks back with easy rhythms, stirring clever wordplay with Seinfeld quotes and witty character references. “The Opening Title Sequence”, with its awesome sampling of the show’s theme song, and the schizophrenic vibes in “The Manipulation” are definitive highlights. Download the mixtape here, here or here.

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Here’s another reason why Mark Oliver Everett of The Eels is the Paul McCartney of our times. Thankfully, he has never penned anything as dastardly as Yesterday. And I doubt if Paul has written anything as simplistically beautiful as Ugly Love.

 

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The Eels – Ugly Love

Happy Mondays – 24 Hour Party People

New Order – Blue Monday

Mother Hips – White Headphones

Wale – Opening Title Sequence

Wale – The Manipulation

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Music that really matters at least

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hooverphonics

Belgian trip poppers Hooverphoncs led by bassist Alex Callier and guitarist Raymond Geerts (vocalist Geike Arnaert left the band in 2008) are a fascinating lot. They make pop music that could drive dance floors insane with equal proportions of curiosity and confusion. Play any track of their magnificently conceptual Hooverphonic Presents Jackie Cane or Blue Wonder Power Milk in a club and watch the crowd writhe in slow, uneasy motion to the sound of their own insecurities.

You can find similarities to Portishead, Morcheeba and Massive Attack, but what really separates Hooverphonic from UK’s finest trip hoppers is their complete nonchalance for the proven and tested (although one could argue that Portishead achieved that to a greater degree on Third).

After gaining unexpected international recognition with their  sparse debut A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular, they released a sophomore album, which was more organic and traditional than what was expected of them. Also, for a trip hop band – the album did really well, sparking off parodies, cellphone commercials (ughh) and sitcom theme songs. While the critics flogged their third album – The Magnificent Tree – for being too commercial, it probably yelled the loudest as their  credibility for crafting pop gems made gentle waves  on both sides of the Atlantic. From then on, each album has been markedly different from the other with the heights of experimentation reaching crazy levels on their The President of the LSD Golf Club – an electronic album that does to psychedelic music what chocolate sauce does to ice creams.

magnificent_tree

With the recent departure of their singer, it is rumoured that they searching for a new vocalist by holding auditions through their official website.

You should check out a lot of their earlier stuff (especially the Power Milk album), but I just can’t resist recommending Mad About You. This is one of those tracks trashed by die-hard fans for being too radio-friendly and well, I just don’t understand the criticism. It is a fantastic little song led by an ultra-groovy bassline that ties orchestral strings to sacchrine-sweet sounding vocals, which heavily breathe, “Give me all your true hate, and Ill translate it in your bed, into a never seen passion…that is why I am so mad about you, mad about you”.

It almost makes me want to build a time machine, go back to high school and kick myself in the head for choosing The Chemical Brothers over Sneaker Pimps.

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Hooverphonics – Mad About You

Hooverphonics – 2Wicky

Hooverphonic – Vinegar & Salt (with Scala Choir)

Hooverphonic – Eden (acoustic)

Sneaker Pimps – Post Modern Sleaze

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Sit Down and Listen

The President Of The LSD Golf Club

Hooverphonics Presents Jackie Cane

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archiebronsonoutfit2I once had much love for these songs. They used to haunt my Winamp playlist at home and the CD player in my car. Of course, familiarity can be bothersome and so can hummable melodies. I have been revisiting a few of them lately and well, nostalgia (random Iron Maiden fan screams ROCKS…BABY! and gets knocked out cold) is sometimes a good thing in distant proportions.

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Archie Bronson Outfit – Dart For My Sweetheart

Archie Bronson sounds like the collective burp of Swedish indie pop bands after being force-fed the corpse of Hendrix. Did I mention cough syrup? Oh the cough syrup, my friends.

The White Stripes – The Hardest Button To Button

How I wish Jack White and Meg sang the blues. The alternative rock shtick, as tight as it was, grew a bit thin over the years. Thankfully its trail left us with this tight-as-a-stiff-lip Southern fried garage asskicker of a song.

A Perfect Circle – Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums

James Keenan Maynard is a strange mix of things that we previously thought only existed inside William Burroughs’ mind and Buddha’s left pocket. Any fan of APC or Tool will tell you that. This is probably the only APC song that I eventually grew tired of. And I still think it fucking rules.

Jose Gonzalez – Teardrop

I get violent when I see emo kids strum on hollow acoustic guitars, sitting on barstools and waxing poetic about life. Even worse are fellows who sing something about our bodies being amusement parks and shit. Mr Gonzalez is a rare exception with his pale white soul lamentations. Also, he has covered Massive Attack’s achingly pretty ballad – Teardrop. Woody Guthrie on antihistamines? Uh huh.

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Whomadewho

For the last time, techno should not make you want to dance. Techno is painful. Borderline torturous. Hell, our government should be utilizing it to ward off potential terrorists. As for disco…well, Motown’s coloured folks discovered it. Later, George Clinton and James Brown put it on the radio. Hell, even Tom Jones caught a glimpse or two of it. As for Whomadewho…well, this Denmark-based band whacks it right in the disco balls.

Jose Gonzalez

After hearing Damien Rice’s version of When Doves Cry, I decided to give ‘the hollow acoustic sound’ another go. A few days later, I stumbled upon Jose Gonzalez on YouTube. His rendition of Massive Attack’s Teardrop is awesome. Er…at least good enough to drown memories of post-grunge rockers sitting on barstools, strumming on acoustic guitars and singing about how their dads had too many bills to pay and not enough hugs to give. Forget them. Try this chap.

Dinosaur Jr

During the mid-Eighties, Dinosaur Jr unleashed the alternative rock genre upon unsuspecting masses. In essence, this genre was the next step in the evolution of college rock. Some even took it to be the unholy matrimony between hard rock and punk. Whatever the hell it was, these guys managed to make it sound more intriguing and viscerally edgier than anything else that dared to broadcast itself on MTV. Fiction: Nirvana gave birth to the sonic blueprint that made modern rock music a better alternative to popular music. Fact: Dinosaur Jr’s album You’re Living All Over Me packs more punch than the shotgun that blew Cobain’s head off.

Opeth

What’s life without a little metal to whip one’s earlobes into frenzy? For nearly five years, I watched as my Panasonic music system got continuously assaulted by the likes of Sepultura, Pantera, Six Feet Under, Sabbath and Crowbar. By the summer of 2000, Radiohead’s OK Computer launched an attack so intensely alarming upon my aural inclinations that I could no longer appreciate bands that preferred ferocity to subtlety. It’s difficult to lug Opeth into the metal category even though they sometimes consciously channel the spirits of black metal legends. But their calmer and more introspective side lets them escape any such classification. Let me just say that Opeth is what heavy metal should hope to evolve into by the next millennium.

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