Sunday, 19 April 2009

Pink Mountaintops - Outside Love

Do you know how you know? That sometime you'll look at someone's face, and for whatever reason, that face is like a key that turns the lock inside you. Until recently, I've not been a strong believer in that idea, but I knew that others believed in it, and I could see why. It's an attractive concept, that love just hits you, changes you immediately from something cold to something alive. Your eyes are newly open, and the world is in Technicolor.

While it can't be said for certain that Stephen McBean can attest to this romantic ideal, it could be suggested is that Outside Love is the work of a romantic mind. The opening question in the opener 'Axis: Thrones of Love' "How deep is your love?", while once being the territory of hacks like the Bee Gees, when handled by McBean and his cast of thousands becomes a genuine metaphysical question. It's a death march before rebirth, a funereal waltz rich with echo, cello, and soul. It gives you a hint at how good this album is.

"Promise me that in the end, we will find our true love again."

Another romantic notion, separation and recovery, and a key lyric in 'Execution', track two. This one's a finely timed stomper, another delicate statement of intent, and like 'Axis', faintly psychedelic.

"If I could find your heart, I'd pull it from your chest, and smash you with my fist, till it was beating..." ('While we were dreaming')

Jesse Sykes is guest vocal on 'While we were dreaming', a certain single, and as close to perfection as any song is likely to get. It sounds like the Jesus and Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey" multiplied by the Velvet Underground. Chiming guitars, sweet vocals, and sensational lyrics. Track of the year, already?

The rest of the album can't match that level of quality, but doesn't veer too far from the path of righteousness. The title track is another a high point, a shimmery slow burner, laying apocalyptic words on the death of something great. Vampire is another strong track, which you'll find all over the blogs right now, a smooth, rich, densely layered love song; the musical equivalent of a dark chocolate Bounty. Hmmm. I'll try to lay off descriptive terms like that in future.

Pink Mountaintops are now my Must See At ATP, but if you aren't going, they're playing the Borderline on the 11th of May. It's definitely a worthwhile ticket.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Getting things done - Gigs and playlists

The writing, it's been hard to get time to do it, lately. Having any sort of real work schedule throws me off my writing for a few weeks and this time is no exception. The last review I wrote was for Outside Love by Pink Mountaintops, out at the start of next month. It went up too early for the liking of their record company, so that's sitting in drafts for the next two weeks to make sure piracy isn't encouraged. Fair play to them.

I'll give you a trailer... it's a very positive review of a great record.

For now, I haven't got any new records lined up to review, so I'll just tell you about some shows I recommend, and hand you links for some Spotify playlists.


The Ghost Frequency and O Children are playing at the Lexington for Club Cog (the club night runs for a good few hours afterwards) tomorrow night. It's a cheap ticket for two up and coming bands, but with bonus support from the unknown La Shark and the club afterwards, I'd say in value for money terms, that's pretty fierce.

Art Brut will be playing a free show at Pure Groove on the 20th to promote their new Frank Black recorded album, Art Brut Vs Satan. Eddie will be delighted to show off his art rock move collection for you, but you'll have to get there early to see anything but the top of his head thanks to the lack of a dedicated stage at the record shop cum venue. It's a guaranteed full house.

Obscurists will remember Edie Sedgwick well. The transgendered reincarnation of a the Andy Warhol darling will be returning to our shores for an intimate date at the Windmill at the end of this month (the 28th to be precise). Expect to hear the anti-dance classic Martin Sheen and tremble with awe.

In the slightly more distant future, the mighty Shearwater are playing another church, the acoustically perfect Union Chapel on the 12th of May, after ATP. That combination alone should be enough to have you reaching for your wallet. Support is from the Cave Singers, and that should seal the deal for any music lover. If you're feeling flush (ie: haven't been skinted by ATP), why not go see Pink Mountaintops at the Borderline the night before? I'd post a link, but Wegottickets have sold their allocation, and I don't endorse the excessive charges of See. At least they aren't as bad as Ticketmaster.

Spotify lists

18 track best of The Cure

Reworked and improved Classic Rock (now featuring sleaze classics Still of the Night by Whitesnake, Hot and Bothered by Cinderella, and Lovin' You is a Dirty Job by Ratt).

Finally, a very decent Pulp playlist from Royer Hatfood with some early stuff I'd never heard before on it. And that's your lot!