Posts Tagged ‘portishead’

Thanks to this December’s euphoria (turkey gravy, brownies and a week off) I think I finally get reggae. My lifelong loathing of Bob Marley’s music has dwindled into mellow appreciation. I can see what the fuss is all about. Laidback, organic music backed by the sound of a man who was once shot for trying to unite our species. The deliciously mellow High Tide Or Low Tide is that song that withered leaves would dream of falling down the stream to.

None but ourselves can free our mindsBob Marley

Go to the light, Mr Turkey. You have done well this year.


Nickelback is one of the worst rock acts ever. They make Puddle Of Mudd sound competent. Every album of theirs has borrowed heavily from alternative rock’s oldest formula, but with every conceivable verse, chorus, bridge and solo sodomized beyond recognition. The Nineties had seen bands like Toadies, 7 Mary 3, Candlebox and Catherine Wheel adopting the same formulae without sounding like retarded llamas in heat. Yet most of them faded away without a trace. Virginia hard rockers Seven Mary Three, for instance, once did the impossible but were never remembered for it. They stole a worthless Metallica intro and built a decent song around it. Take that, Chad fucking Kroeger.


Electro jazz sextet Cinematic Orchestra is one of those bands that can give you goosebumps without claiming to understand your problems. This is very unlike the preciously emotive music that you watch/hear on TV/radio. “All That You Give” featuring soul starlet Fontella Bass is intoxicating. Your senses will get drunk on the ambience, I swear. Wiki-ians have described their sound better than I’d expect them to, calling it “a seamless combination of live jazz improvisation with electronica, such that it is difficult to tell where the improvisation ends and the production begins.” Yup. Totally.


Lupe Fiasco’s Daydream was heavily based on a sample from a Sixties’ pop rock anthem. Originally record recorded at Abbey Road Studios by the Belgian-based Wallace Collection, Daydream is supposedly is an adaptation ofTchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. A breezy psychedelic pop romp that felt a bit too urgent for the Sixties. No wonder Isaac Hayes dipped the strings of Ike’s Rap II in its gorgeousness. More recently, artists such as I Monster, Tricky and Portishead had lifted the song’s bassline to spark some of their finest moments. Most fittingly of all, German space age pop band Gunter Kallmann Choir also released a version of it in 1971. Uhmmm…super serious, self-professedly futuristic Germans had to go back three years in time to find a relevant sound. Now that’s what I fucking call music.


Wallace Collection – Daydream


Bob Marley & The Wailers – High Tide Or Low Tide

Seven Mary Three – Water’s Edge

Cinematic Orchestra & Fontella Bass – All That You Give

Lupe Fiasco – Daydreamin’

I, Monster – Day Dream In Blue

Portishead – Glory Box

Tricky – Hell Is Around The Corner

Isaac Hayes – Ike’s Rap II

Gunter Kallmann Choir – Daydream


7 Mary 3’s Day & Nightdriving

Cinematic Orchestra’s Everyday

Wallace Collection’s Laughing Cavalier & Serenade

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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.


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.

Hooverphonics – Mad About You

Hooverphonics – 2Wicky

Hooverphonic – Vinegar & Salt (with Scala Choir)

Hooverphonic – Eden (acoustic)

Sneaker Pimps – Post Modern Sleaze


Sit Down and Listen

The President Of The LSD Golf Club

Hooverphonics Presents Jackie Cane

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preorder_mmbosstones_imageMost ska bands I have heard so far have been depressingly bad. I despise all that “surf’s up, dude” pseudo-mellow trombones-hugging bullshit. 311 once ruled with a bunch of great melodies, but soon they joined the bandwagon of suck by impersonating Linkin Park. But as for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, well they are really really awesome. By whipping up a cocktail of straight-edged British punk and sunny ska vibes and lacing it with some good ol’ blue-collar humour, Mighty Mighty Bosstones moved to the mainstream with dissonant ease but stayed true to what made them cool in the first place…being nerdy and badass at the same time.

belleruche-turntable_soul_music_bThe great thing about Portishead’s Beth Gibbons is that you can ape her vocal styling and take it to weird wonderful places without sounding like a cheap knock-off. Geike Arnaert channeled Gibbons perfectly on HooverphonicsPresident of the LSD Golf Club album. Martina Topley-Bird sometimes gets it when collaborating with Tricky. As for Belleruche’s Kathrin deBoer…well, she has fucking nailed it with her vocals sensually dancing all over the beats, just like Ms Gibbons. It also makes me feel all warm and sunny to listen to her take a rain-check on hitting portentous high notes; instead she breathes ridiculously catchy basslines and hums sweaty drops of soul and jazz. Seriously, best fucking pop band fronted by a woman…like ever. Yes, even better than Beach Boys.

album-the-feedingSometimes I think that I am being too hard on heavy metal. I guess, my recently accumulated disgust for the vaguely ignorant and the pointlessly rebellious has something to do with it. I admit, anger is only purposeful when channeled through art and metal quite honestly is little else than rage-fueled post-Freudian bullshit. But hey, I don’t have a problem with post-Freudian trash when it sounds vaguely inspired by the fiery bolts of thunder that once drove millions of minions towards bands such as Pantera, Black Label Society, Slayer and Propain. For instance, here’s a curious case of American Head Charge. Inspired by Sabbath? Check. Recorded album with Rick Rubin. Check. Friends with Slipknot? Check. But also here’s the difference between American Head Charge and a million other ‘I have a vague memory of a creepy uncle touching my wee-wee and I can’t get over it” posers who piss on the mighty gods of metal by sporting fashionable frowns and black T-shirts…they do not suck. They channel their rage and let bloody riffs and maniacal double-bass stomps talk shit on their behalf. That’s pretty metal.


Mighty Mighty Bosstones – The Rascal King, Someday

Belleruche – It’ll Come, Northern Girls

American Head Charge – Ridicule, Cowards

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Sometimes a song comes along that makes you want to toss chestnuts into the fire. Maybe even a few goosebumps.

Glory Juke Box (Live in Roseland NYC) – Portishead

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