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Old 2014-01-01, 10:35 AM   #11
One with the Matrix
Skyquake87's Avatar

Tootled into hmv on my way home from work on a day and picked up a few more CDs, yeah check me out with my love of physical format music. There's no joy in a download.

Lady Gaga 'Artpop' - Not quite as good as her last two albums, but then she's the type of pop artist whom whilst visually and conceptually is quite striking (amusingly so here with the modern art style naked posing with a ball sleeve art) turns out just good, solid pop music that isn't particularly ground breaking. I always find the parps of "genius" laid at her door quite bizarre as a result (see also: space cadet Nicki Minaj). Musically, she's not doing anything different to the likes of Britney, Christina and even Girls Aloud were a decade or so before she turned up. I'm sure she's supposed to be having fun with the slightly misogynistic stylings of a lot of US pop as well, but it comes over just as sexist and leery as the rest, so I'm not sure that was as successful as intended. Still, bloody good fun all the same and some good lyrics. The sleeve art, whilst falling on the wrong side of artistic and being a bit too titilating does also show that underneath the explosion in the dressing up box, Gaga herself is beautiful.

Haim 'Days Are Gone' - The NME were jizzing in their drainpipes at the start of the last year about these three musical siblings and their band. This always results in a big red flashing light and a warning klaxon going off in my head as their fanboy hype goes into overdrive. I invariably discover with bands the NME likes a lot that they never live up to the upper echelons of musical originality and awesomeness they prescribe them. This was backed up in the same issue I read where , after a salivating interview/ feature, their album got 7 out of 10. Sometimes, they write their own jokes, that lot. One of the things they were at pains to point out in their review of this album was how much more rawk they are live and that they've over-produced their debut album. I'm not so sure this is the case and the NME are just trying to justify to themselves that they like what is basically, big sunny POP music, and not the usual 'cool' indie grime they go for. They should get over themselves, as when its done as well as this, pop music is one of the greatest things ever. Its just glorious well written , tight guitar pop and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. There are huge shades of Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush and Tears For Fears (you can decide for yourselves if thats a bad thing) to their sound (and with the latter influence, perhaps where you can, if you wish lay the argument about being over-produced) which surprised me given how 'abrasive' they've been described. As ever, don't believe the hype and enjoy things on their own merits without expectation or affectation. This is a cracking record with no dull moments.

Bastille 'Bad Blood' - forlorn sounding indie/synth pop that sounds like its come from a grey northern town. Basically, the twenty-first century's take on trenchcoat indie rock (see also: Echo And The Bunnymen, Everything But The Girl, The Smiths). Another hyped to the hilt band, I was rather sold on their mournful but uplifting cacophony having caught their live show at some festival or other on BBC3 (on the rare occasion that channel breaks away from god-awful 'yoof' orientated reality tv shows and puts something decent on). A good album, but one of those where beyond track eight, everything sort of runs into each other and becomes a bit of a blurry forgettable blather. I got the standard version of this album, although there is one of those wretched 'reissues' out now with the album proper and an additional 'mini-album' thrown in. I hate this industry practice "Hey kids, you know that album you bought that you liked by that artist you really rate?, Well they have put out some new stuff, but to get it, you'll have to double dip on an album you've already bought." Oh, f**k off.

And from the archives.....

The Jesus And Mary Chain 'Psycho Candy' Gloriously sharp, spiky and noisy debut from the much feted (at the time) JAMC, the band that established Creation Records. I have a real love for abrasive, scrappy and harsh sounding music that has some rawness in its sound (see also: Queen Adreena, Mclusky, My Bloody Valentine) and I was always told I should like this lot. Turns out I do. So thats alright then. Interesting to read that like a lot of bands in the '80s, the JAMC largely managed to make a go of things whilst on the dole. You wouldn't get away with that now!
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