Throws (reviewed by Thomas Haynes)

Dancing About Architecture

ThrowsThrows debut album documents an Icelandic adventure through a range of musical styles with soulful vocals and awkward drum beats. The resultant noises can be compared to The XX, slower Super Furry Animal numbers and The Polyphonic Spree.

Throws is a collaboration between old friends and collaborators Mike Lindsay and Sam Genders formally of Tunng’s who found themselves rekindling their friendship while meandering across the unearthly Icelandic landscape and recording songs along the way.
The album features space-laden tunes with soulful high-pitched falsettos provided by the Northern tones of Sam, which are reminiscent of Bon Ivor.

Awkward drum loops and freestyle live drumming prick your attention and stop this record fading into the background while string and key arrangements provide some warmth and depth. On first listen the album sounds grounded in folk, but you soon discover some surprises such as a bit of gospel in the opening track ‘The…

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Who Cares What The Laser Says? – White Wine (reviewed by Thomas Haynes)

Here is my review of White Wine’s cool new album

Dancing About Architecture

White-Wine-Cover-2500White Wine’s new album ‘Who Cares What The Laser Says?’ is a twisted broken treat to listen to. Joe Haege’s antagonistic vocal delivery flashes over the synths and awkward beats and the lyrics are well written and delivered. His angst filled delivery is on show in the second track ‘Where’s My Line?’ (see the video below). You will also quickly assimilate the chant of ‘I’m a sick and narcissistic sycophant!’ from the track ‘Bullet Points Like Swords’.

The album title is a sentiment against technological progress, which feels well represented within both the lyrics and the soundscape of the album. Many of the drumbeats present are stop/start, which keeps you on edge as the album progresses.

There is a dark moodiness to much of Side A (I am so happy to see the two side album concept still in effect). The opening track ‘Is This Weird?’ reminds me of a…

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Naubinway – Adam Levy (reviewed by Thomas Haynes)

Here is my review of Adam Levy’s emotional new album

Dancing About Architecture

This is AdA16AX32QBGL._SX355_am Levy’s first solo album away from his band The Honey Dogs. For the most part, the album is a stripped back, folky affair with some subtle country elements. The songs are mid-tempo with Levy’s impressive finger picking style prominent and his soft vocals standing above the mix of acoustic guitars. However, this album is more than just folky guitars.

The stand out tracks for me are ‘Eucastrophe’ which features more production values than some of the other tracks, with its broken fairy tale-like ambient intro reminiscent of Sparklehorse and ‘Atoms never die’ features some nice ambient synthesisers (and what a brilliant lyric). ‘Potter’s Field’ is also a great track with a nice head bopping country beat.

The lyrics are complex and influenced by a very difficult time in Levy’s life: The loss of his son. His son’s striking macabra artwork is presented on the record sleeve…

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Synesthetica – Radiation City (reviewed by Thomas Haynes)

Here is a review of Radiation City’s new album I wrote for Dancing About Architecture

Dancing About Architecture

radiationcity_synestheticaIt’s early on a Wednesday morning in February. I need to drive to Southampton, but the heavy rain last night has frozen solid on the windscreen, so I have to scrape the damn stuff off in a strange bubbly fashion. I get in the car and look for an album to listen to and I am drawn to the bright colours on Radiation City’s new album: Synesthetica. The mix of oranges and blues makes me think this could be a fun listen and I am not disappointed.

For those not in the know, Synesthesia is a condition when you are able to detect an additional flow of sensory information, so you might see a colour when looking at a certain number. This album plays this concept to its strength with great song titles that conjure all sorts of strange thought patterns.

The opener ‘Oil Show’ has a nice slick sound…

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Album reviews: Battles – Mirrored

Here you find my thoughts on some of the music I’m currently listening to. You can find the music I’m currently listening to on my Spotify Page (Click Here).

Battles – Mirrored (2007)

Battles are an experimental rock band hailing from New York.

Mirrored was Battles first LP and there is some amazing musicianship is on display. Warped whistling, layered effects over vocals, out of tune strings, slowing tempos. Clever beats. The drumming is very impressive. You would believe ther are two drummers hard at work.

There are very few clear lyrics on the album, with voices used more as instruments, which gives the album a strong identity. The effects used are similar to those by Rustie on Glass Sword (that comment might either attract or put you off).

This is an album I think I will come back to again and again and discover new things within the musical swirl.

I will look forward to listening to Battles other releases.

Oh look!!! Just what I didn’t ask for: a U2 album

“While you were out, we packed your fridge full of chicken nuggets, you didn’t mind, did you?” – U2 and Apple try new marketing manoeuvres with creepy undertones.

Isn’t it funny how one little thing can change your attitude to the way you live your life? Apple and U2 have just done this for me.

U2 released their 13th studio album this week at this years big Apple press conference and they had something special planned. The two money making engines colluded to give all apple users U2’s 13th effort for free.

Sounds like a nice gift doesn’t it? In fact it reflects real gifts very well, you know what i mean… when your Nan knits you a woolly cardigan you don’t want and thrusts it into your hands. You just fake a smile as best as possible and accept that you will palm it off to someone later on.

It is a little creepier though, isn’t it? This album is automatically added to your apple music library. To return to Nan’s gift: It is more like your Nan telling you that you’re already wearing her woolly cardigan (queue screaming in self realisation).

Some people might be happy about this, but it made me look at my music library and wonder who it actually belongs to. I have spent so much money on music and built this quite obsessively organised library. I get quite picky about artwork and track edits. To think that Apple have decided that it is acceptable practice to thrust this album into my music library seems like a strange action (from a company currently being scrutinised about security on celebrity icloud accounts).

This is about privacy. I built my music library over years. It includes CD rips, itunes files and purchased mp3s from elsewhere. I paid for all of it. Have I foolishly believed that I own this system and have control over it? This veneer is now washing away. The moment Apple decides they can extend their influence by integrating U2 freebees (I don’t want) into my music library is the moment I wonder whether Apple (and others) have too much control over my life.

Ironically, this news comes as I am researching different means of digitally distributing my own Grasslands music. How amusing it is for me to be worrying about who has control over my own music, while other peoples music is forced into my life.

U2 probably see it as a friendly gesture and a nice promotion for their inevitably profitable gigs, but it just seems like a strange bending of economics to me. Is the advertising industry getting so desperate that they will literally just force things into our hands and onto our PCs? Just think of the same situation in another economic medium: “While you were out, we packed your fridge full of chicken nuggets, you didn’t mind, did you?” This is not ‘supply and demand’, this is ‘establish a demand via bombardment’.

Apple might want to think about retaining a trusting relationship with their customers and not abusing it. We are individuals. We like different things. We use Apple services in different ways. We don’t all want a U2 album. We certainly don’t want to be reminded of how little control we have over this music we have collected for years.

And as for U2… I wonder if the band will be happy if I creep into their houses at night and install my Grasslands EPs on their ipods?